-By Bruce Lee
-By Bruce Lee
-By Ted Wong
-By M. Uyehara
-By George Lee
-By Tim Tackett
-By John Little with Introduction by Mike Mentzer
-By Terry L. Wilson
-By David Tadman
WHAT IS JEET KUNE DO? I am the first to admit that any attempt to crystalize Jeet Kune Do into a written article is no easy task. Perhaps to avoid making a thing out of a process, I have not until now personally written an article on JKD. Indeed, it is difficult to explain what Jeet Kune Do is, although it may be easier to explain what it is not.
Let me begin with a Zen story. The story might be familiar to some, but I repeat it for it’s appropriateness. Look upon this story as a means of limbering up one’s senses, one’s attitude and one’s mind to make them pliable and receptive. You need that to understand this article, otherwise you might as well forget reading any farther.
A learned man once went to a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like, “Oh, yes, we have that too…” and so on. Finally the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. “Enough!” the learned man once more interrupted. “No more can go into the cup!”. “Indeed, I see” answered the Zen teacher. “ If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”
I hope my comrades in the martial arts will read the following paragraphs with open-mindedness, leaving all the burdens of preconceived opinions and conclusion behind. This act, by the way, has in itself a liberating power. After all, the usefulness of a cup is in it’s emptiness.
Make this article relate to yourself, because though it is on JKD, it is primarily concerned with the blossoming of a martial artist – not a “Chinese” martial artist, a “Japanese” martial artist, etc. a martial artist is a human being first. Just as nationalities have nothing to do with one’s humanity, so they have nothing to do with the martial arts. Leave your protective shell of isolation and relate directly to what is being said. Return to your senses by ceasing all the intellectual mumbo jumbo. Remember life is a constant process of relating. Remember, too, that I see neither your approval nor to influence you towards my way of thinking. I will be more than satisfied if, as a result of this article you begin to investigate everything for yourself and cease to uncritically accept prescribed formulas that dictate “this is this” and “that is that”.
ON CHOICELESS OBSERVATION
Suppose several persons who are trained in different styles of combative arts witness an all-out street fight. I am sure that we would hear different versions from each of these stylists. This is quite understandable for one cannot see a fight (or anything else) “as is” as long as he is blinded by his chosen point of view, ie. style and he will view the fight through the lens of his particular conditioning. Fighting “as is”, is simple and total. It is not limited to your perspective or conditioning as a Chinese martial artist, a Korean martial artist or a “whatever” martial artist. True observation begins when one sheds set patterns, and true freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond systems.
Before we examine Jeet Kune Do, let’s consider exactly what a “classical” martial art style really is. To begin with, we must recognize the incontrovertible fact that regardless of their many colorful origins (by a wise, mysterious monk, by a special messenger in a dream, in a holy revelation, etc.) styles are created by men. A style should never be considered gospel truth, the laws and principles of which can never be violated. Man, the living, creating individual, is always more important than any established style.
It is conceivable that a long time ago a certain martial artist discovered some partial truth. During his lifetime, the man resisted the temptation to organize this partial truth, although this is a common tendency in man’s search for security and certainty in life. After his death his students took “his” hypothesis, “his” postulates, “his” inclination, and “his” method and turned them into law. Impressive creeds were then invented, solemn reinforcing ceremonies prescribed, rigid philosophy and patterns formulated, and so on, until finally an institution was erected. So, what originated as one man’s institution of some sort of personal fluidity has been transformed into solidified, fixed knowledge, complete with organized classified responses presented in a logical order. In so doing, the well-meaning, loyal followers have not only made this knowledge a holy shrine, but also a tomb in which they have buried the founder’s wisdom.
But the distortion does not necessarily end here. In reaction to “the other’s truth”, another martial artist or possibly a dissatisfied disciple, organizes an opposite approach – such as the “soft” style versus the “hard” style, the “internal” school versus the “external” school, and all these separative nonsenses. Soon this opposite faction also becomes a large organization, with it’s own laws and patterns. A rivalry begins, with each style claiming to possess the “truth” to the exclusion of all others.
At best, styles are merely parts dissected from a unitary whole. All styles require adjustment, partiality, denials, condemnation and a lot of self-justification. The solutions they purport to provide are the very cause of the problem, because they limit and interfere with our natural growth and obstruct the way to genuine understanding. Divisive by nature, styles keep men apart from each other rather that unite them.
TRUTH CANNOT BE STRUCTURED OR CONFINED
One cannot express himself fully when imprisoned by a confining style. Combat “as is” is total, and it includes all the “is” as well as “is not”, without favorite lines or angles. Lacking boundaries, combat is always fresh, alive and constantly changing. Your particular style, your personal inclinations and your physical makeup are all parts of combat, but they do not constitute the whole of combat. Should your responses become dependent upon any single part, you will react in terms of what “should be”, rather than to the reality of the ever-changing “what is”. Remember that while the whole is evidenced in all its parts, an isolated part, efficient or not, does not constitute the whole.
Prolonged repetitious drillings will certainly yield mechanical precision and security of the kind that comes from any routine. However, it is exactly this kind of “selective” security or “crutch” which limits or blocks the total growth of a martial artist. In fact, quite a few practitioners develop such a liking for and dependence on their “crutch” that they can no longer walk without it. Thus, any one special technique, however cleverly designed, is actually a hindrance.
Let it be understood once and for all that I have not invented a new style, composite or modification. I have in no way set Jeet Kune Do within a distinct form governed by laws that distinguish it from “this” style or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my comrades from bondage to styles, patterns and doctrines.
What, then, is Jeet Kune Do? Literally, “jeet” means to intercept or to stop; “kune” is the fist; and “do” is the way, the ultimate reality – the way of the intercepting fist. Do remember, however, that “Jeet Kune Do” is merely a convenient name. I am not interested with the term itself; I am interested in its effect of liberation when JKD is used as a mirror for self-examination.
Unlike a “classical” martial art, these is no series of rules or classification technique that constitutes a distinct “Jeet Kune Do” method of fighting. JKD is not a form of special conditioning with its own rigid philosophy. It looks at combat not from a single angle, but from all possible angles. While JKD utilizes all ways and means to serve its end (after all, efficiency is anything that scores), it is bound by none and is therefore free. In other words, JKD possesses everything, but is in itself possessed by nothing.
Therefore to try and define JKD in terms of a distinct style – be it gung-fu, karate, street fighting, Bruce Lee’s martial art, etc. – is to completely miss it’s meaning. It’s teaching simply cannot be confined within a system. Since JKD is at once “this” and “not this”, it neither opposes nor adheres to any style. To understand this fully, one must transcend from the duality of “for” and “against” into one organic unity which is without distinctions. Understanding JKD is direct intuition of this unity.
There are no prearranged sets of “kata” in the teaching of JKD, nor are they necessary. Consider the subtle difference between “having no form”, and having “no-form”; the first is ignorance, the second is transcendence. Through instinctive body feeling, each of us knows our own most efficient and dynamic manner of achieving effective leverage, balance in motion, economical use of energy, etc. Patterns, techniques or forms touch only the fringe of genuine understanding. The core of understanding lies in the individual mind, and until that is touched, everything is uncertain and superficial. Truth cannot be perceived until we come to fully understand ourselves and our potentials. After all, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge.
At this point you may ask, “How do I gain this knowledge?” That you will have to find out all by yourself. You must accept that fact that there is no help but self-help. For the same reason I cannot tell you how to “gain” freedom, since freedom exists within you. I cannot tell you how to “gain” self-knowledge. While I can tell you what not to do, I cannot tell you what you should do, since that would be confining you to a particular approach. Formulas can only inhibit freedom, externally dictated prescriptions only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Bear in mind that the freedom that accrues from self-knowledge can not be acquired through strict adherence to a formula; we do not suddenly “become” free, we simply “are” free.
Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery, a process without end. In JKD we begin not by accumulation but by discovering the cause of the ignorance, a discovery that involves a shredding process.
Unfortunately, most students in the martial arts are conformists. Instead of learning to depend on themselves for expression, they blindly follow their instructors, no longer feeling alone, and finding security in mass imitation. The product of this imitation is a dependent mind. Independent inquiry, which is essential to genuine understanding, is sacrificed. Look around the martial arts and witness the assortment of routine performers, trick artists, desensitized robots, glorifiers of the past and so on – all followers or exponents of organized despair.
How often are we told by different “sensei” or “masters” that the martial arts are life itself? But how many of them truly understand what they are saying? List is a constant movement – rhythmic as well as random; life is constant change and not stagnation. Instead of choicelessly flowing with this process of change, many of these “masters”, past and present, have built an illusion of fixed forms, rigidly subscribing to traditional concepts and techniques of the art, solidifying the ever-flowing, dissecting the totality.
The most pitiful sight is to see sincere students earnestly repeating those imitative drills, listening to their own screams and spiritual yells. In most cases, the means these “sensei” offer their students are so elaborate that the students must give tremendous attention to them, until gradually he loses sight of the end. The students end up performing their methodical routines as a mere conditioned response, rather than responding to “what is”. They no longer “listen” to circumstances; they “recite” their circumstances. These poor souls have unwittingly become trapped in the miasma of classical martial arts training.
A teacher, a really good sensei, is never a giver of “truth”; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that the student must discover for himself. A good teacher, therefore, studies each student individually and encourages the student to explore himself, both internally and externally, until, ultimately, the student is integrated with his being. For example, a skillful teacher might spur his student’s growth by confronting him with certain frustrations. A good teacher is a catalyst. Besides possessing deep understanding, he must also have a responsive mind with great flexibility and sensitivity.
A FINGER POINTING TO THE MOON
There is no standard in total combat, and expression must be free. This liberating truth is a reality only in so far as it is experienced and lived by the individual himself; it is a truth that transcends styles or disciplines. Remember, too, that jeet kune do is merely a term, a label to be used as a boat to get one across; once across, it is to be discarded and not carried on one’s back.
These few paragraphs are, at best, a “finger pointing to the moon”. Please do not take the finger to be the moon or fix your gaze so intently on the finger as to miss all the beautiful sights of heaven. After all, the usefulness of the finger is in pointing away from itself to the light which illuminates finger and all.
In jeet kune do, mobility is heavily emphasized because to-hand combat is a matter of movements. Your application of an effective technique depends on your footwork. The speed of your footwork leads the way for fast kicks and punches. If you are slow on your feet, you will be slow with your hands and feet.
Jeet Kune do footwork should not only be easy, relaxed and alive, it should also be firm. The traditional, classical horse stance seeks solidity in stillness. This unnecessary, strenuous stance is not functional because it is slow and awkward. when fighting, you have to move in any direction instantly.
Proper footwork contributes to hitting power and your ability to avoid punishment. Good footwork will beat any kick or punch. A moving target is definitely more difficult to hit than a stationary one. The more skillful you are with your footwork, the less you have to use your arms to block or parry kicks and punches. By moving deftly, you can elude almost any blow and prepare your fists and feet to attack.
Besides evading blows, footwork allows you to cover distance rapidly, escape out of a tight corner and conserve your energy to counter with more sting in your punch or kick. A heavy slugger with poor footwork will exhaust himself as he futilely attempts to hit his opponent.
You should be able to move rapidly in any direction so you are well-balanced to withstand blows from any angle. Your feet must always be directly under your body. The on-guard stance presents proper body balance and a natural alignment of your feet.
To advance, do not cross or hop. Instead, shuffle your feet. At the outset, you will feel clumsy and slow. As you keep practicing this movement daily, however, you will develop your speed and grace.
To do the forward shuffle, stand in the on-guard position. Slide your front foot forward about a half-step, widening the space between your feet just for a second as you slide your rear foot forward. When your rear foot is moved forward, you should be back at the original position. To advance further, repeat the process.
While doing this, maintain your balance and keep your guard up. You should not be flat-footed; you should glide on the balls of your feet. Learn to move like a tightrope walker.
Keep both of your knees slightly bent and relaxed. Your front foot should be flat, but do not plant it heavily on the floor. It should be light and raised intuitively about V8 of an inch.
Your rear heel should almost always be raised in stillness or in motion. It is raised slightly higher than the front foot, about one-fourth or one-half of an inch.
When your rear heel is raised, it facilitates switching your weight immediately to your other foot when delivering a punch. Your raised back heel allows you to react quickly and act as a spring, giving in to blows from any angle.
Naturally, your heel should drop at the impact of the blow. There is no fast rule that says your heels should be constantly raised or when they should be flat. This depends on several factors. including body position and your reactions.
In the advanced shuffle, you should be light on your feet and your weight should be evenly distributed, except for just a split second when you are advancing your front foot. At that instant, your weight would shift to that foot just a little.
In retreating or moving backward cautiously, reverse your movement. The basis behind the backward shuffle is like the advance.
From the on-guard position, slide or shuffle your rear foot backward about half a step, widening the space between your feet for just a split second as you slide your front foot backward. When the front foot is in place, you should be in the on-guard position and perfectly balanced. Unlike the advance shuffle, your weight should shift slightly to your rear foot for just an instant. To retreat further, continue to repeat the process. Learn to be light on your feet continuously, and keep your rear heel raised.
The forward and backward shuffle must be made with a series of short steps to retain complete balance. This position prepares you to shift your body quickly to any direction and is perfect for attacking or defending.
The quick advance is almost like the forward shuffle.
Begin in the jeet kune do on-guard position and step forward with your front foot about three inches. This seemingly insignificant movement keeps your body aligned and maintains your balance as you move forward. It also allows you to move with both feet evenly supplying the power. Without this short step, your rear foot does most of the work.
As soon as you glide your front foot, quickly slide your back foot up to replace your front foot's previous position. Unless you move your front foot instantly, your rear foot cannot be planted properly because your front foot will be partially in the way.
Just before your rear foot makes contact with your front foot, slide your front foot forward. At this position, if you have not taken another step, you should be back at the on guard position with your feet apart at a natural distance.
The purpose of this drill is to move your body quickly, about eight feet or more, in several steps. Except for the first three-inch step, the series of steps should be made at a normal walking space.
The footwork for the quick retreat or rapid backward movement is similar to the quick advance except you move in the opposite direction.
From the on-guard position, move your front foot back. Your front foot, like during the quick advance, initiates the movement. Your rear foot follows a split-second later. Unless you move your rear foot before your front foot makes contact, your front foot cannot be planted properly.
Unlike the quick advance, you do not have to slide any of your foot. It is just one quick motion, but your body should be in alignment and in balance. If you were to move just once, you should be at the on-guard position. But the purpose of this movement is to move your body four feet or more.
The quick movement and shuffle can only be accomplished by being light on your feet. The best exercise for overcoming the force of inertia to your feet is skipping rope and shadowboxing several minutes. While exercising, you must constantly be conscious of keeping your feet "light as a feather." Eventually, you will be stepping around with natural lightness.
You must move without any strain, gliding on the balls of your feet, bending your knees slightly and keeping your rear heel raised. There should be sensitivity in your footwork.
Quick or relaxed footwork is a matter of proper balance. In your training, as you return to an on-guard position after each phase of maneuvers, shuffle on the balls of your feet with ease and feeling before continuing on your next maneuver. This drill enhances your skill as it simulates actual fighting.
Unless there is a strategic purpose, forward and backward movements should be made with short and quick slides. Lengthy steps or maneuvers that cause your weight to shift from one foot to the other should be eliminated except when delivering a blow. At that moment, your body is imbalanced-restricting your attack or defense effectively. Crossing your feet in motion is a bad habit because it tends to unbalance you and expose your groin area.
The movement should not be a series of hops or jerks. Both feet should be slithering rhythmically just above the surface of the floor like a graceful ballroom dancer. Visually, your movement should not be like a kangaroo hopping across the open plain. Instead, it should be like a stallion galloping with even, rhythmic and graceful strokes.
The forward burst or lunge is the quickest jeet kune do movement. It is also one of the hardest to learn because it depends on good coordination. It is used to attack with a side kick or to counter an attack such as a kick.
The forward burst is one deep lunge. From an on-guard position, step forward about three inches with your front foot, like the quick advance movement. This will align and balance your body.
For faster reactions, use your lead hand as an impetus. By sweeping your lead hand upward, you create momentum. This feeling is similar to what it would be like if someone was jerking you forward suddenly while you were holding onto a rope. This hand sweep also distracts your opponent and throws his timing off.
While sweeping your hand upward, swing your hips forward simultaneously, dragging your rear foot forward. In that split instant, your weight is heavily on your front foot. At this moment, your leg straightens out to thrust your body forward.
Sometimes, on an especially deep, penetrating leap, your rear foot may be ahead of your front foot while you are gliding in the air. You must land on your left foot only, as your right foot is delivering a side kick.
As soon as you have completed your kick, you should quickly place your right foot down and assume the on guard position. That one leap should carry your body at least two wide steps.
In a recent test with the forward burst, it took only 3/4 of a second to travel eight feet. By applying the classical lunge movement or stepping by crossing your feet, it took one and one-half seconds to reach the same distance-twice the time.
The leap should be more horizontal than vertical. It is more like a broad jump than a high jump. You should try for distance by keeping your feet close to the floor. Your knees should always be bent slightly so that the powerful thigh muscles (springy expressiveness) are utilized.
When practicing this footwork in the beginning, don't worry about your hands. Just keep them in the regular jeet kune do position and concentrate on your footwork. Once you are accustomed to the foot movement with proper balance, learn to sweep your hand forward just before each leap.
To develop speed and naturalness in your movement, adopt the following exercise in your daily training.
From an on-guard position, do the forward burst without penetrating too deeply. Sweep your hand upward and leap forward without straining yourself. Quickly place your front foot down without kicking. Continue to do this motion over and over again without stopping. But make sure you keep your balance and fluidity in motion. This exercise is excellent to adapt your body to move with ease, rhythm and grace.
As you become more adaptable to the movement, increase your speed and work toward shortening the distance by more and more execution. Eventually, you can substitute a backfist punch for the sweeping movement of your hand.The backward thrust is like the quick backward movement except that it carries your body backward quicker and deeper.
From an on guard position, push the ball of your front foot to initiate the motion which straightens your front knee and shifts the weight to the rear foot. Then the front foot, without pausing from the initial motion, leaves the floor and crosses your rear foot. Just before it lands, your rear leg, with its knee bent and acting like a spring, should thrust your body with a sudden straightening of its leg. You should land on the ball of your front foot just a second before your rear foot touches the floor. That one quick motion should carry your body backward at least two steps.
The backward burst carries your body just as fast as the forward lunge. In the same test, it took exactly the same time to travel eight feet backward as forward-3/4 of a second. But by comparison, the classical movement covered the same distance in one second flat.
For your daily training, do the backward burst for speed, balance and rhythm instead of deep penetration. Move with lightness of your feet and keep practicing toward shortening the distance.
When jogging, rapidly shuffle your feet and keep jogging.
Or you can do a forward burst while your partner does the backward burst. From an on-guard position, attempt to reach your partner with a light side kick as he tries to keep his distance. Then reverse your positions.
Learn not to hurl yourself recklessly at your partner. Instead, try to narrow the gap of space in a calm and exact manner. Keep drilling faster and faster by lunging 200 to 300 times per day. Acceleration can be increased only by discipline in your workout.
-Bruce Lee & M. Uyehara
-By Ted Wong
After Bruce Lee died, I remained quiet for a number of years. But in the past few years, I have started to get a little more actively involved in the martial arts and jeet kune do. I had always wanted to teach the martial arts someday, but during those years, I felt I was still learning and still training. But I think after 20 some years, I have paid my dues and put my time into it. I have found that people really want to learn the original art and what Bruce Lee taught when he was alive. That's the reason I'm teaching now.
I teach, as close as I can, the art that Bruce taught, and hopefully it has evolved and changed, and become better. I basically teach the fundamentals of jeet kune do, based on Bruce's philosophy and principles. Over the years, I have tried to improve on it and make it better.
Probably only one percent of those teaching jeet kune do today are still teaching Bruce's art. Keep in mind that he did not really teach or talk about jeet kune do to many people in his life. I can't find one instructor who teaches the original form fulltime; it's more like a hobby.
I think Bruce would be pretty pleased with the martial arts today. A lot of people apply his philosophies and principles, but with his concepts, you can make them conform to other martial arts and, in so doing, they will improve them. The martial arts have really come a long way since his passing. They have become much better and more practical.
Bruce always wanted to stay away from the martial arts being used as a sport. I think he tended to stay away from it as a sport because you could not fully utilize the art or its potential. It was not the ultimate martial art unless it was "anything goes." Bruce wanted to practice an art that he could use. No holds barred, no holding back, anything goes- that was his philosophy.
But I think today Bruce would also like the sport portion of martial arts because you develop speed, power and timing- things you can apply to sharpen your skills.
As far as noholdsbarred tournaments like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I don't think Bruce would enter something like that. The UFC still has some limitations to it, even though they refer to it as ultimate fighting. There are still rules that say you can't do this or that. But I think as a test of your skills, Bruce would like it.
I don't think Bruce really liked teaching. He definitely didn't like to teach large groups. If anything, he enjoyed teaching one on one, or small groups. He always found a new way to develop different muscles, to improve speed or whatever. I'm sure he would still be looking for ways to improve conditioning, especially ways that no one else had discovered. He was always researching, reading and looking for more knowledge, analyzing it, and trying to utilize it.
The way Bruce taught and trained was always individualized. He would gear the training to work for you. Bruce could look at you and see what you were lacking and what your potential was. and then he could fully develop your potential. I think he was always looking at the individual and developing a program to suit that individual.
Bruce was a great motivator. He would get interested in you and consumed with the idea of doing everything to motivate you.
If he were still alive today, he would still train and be looking for ways to improve. Because he once said that if you are lacking in your physical ability and conditioning, then you have no business in the martial arts.
He spent most of his time developing, researching and experimenting with his art. That left him little time for teaching. In those days, seminars were unheard of. It wasn't until the early 1980s that people started teaching seminars to large numbers.
When I train now, I always think about him. I try to apply the things I learned from Bruce and use them in my daily routine. It makes me a much better person.
People always ask me about his physical conditioning. I looked up to him because he set the standard to follow in training and conditioning the human body. If he were here today, I believe he would be in even better shape. I don't think he would ever let himself go.
Bruce Lee never bragged about his muscular body, but he was proud of it, especially of his highly developed abdominal muscles. When Bruce wore loose clothing, he looked like a normally built guy. But underneath the clothing, he was a man with extraordinary muscles.
"I've seen many muscular bodybuilders," one of his fans said, "but never like Bruce. He is built perfectly, not bulky. He has muscles on top of muscles, yet he moves with the finesse of a ballet dancer. Those men with bulky muscles can't move like that; they are too tight and clumsy."
Fred Weintraub, the producer of Enter The Dragon, gave this description of Bruce: "...His body never had an inch of fat; it was pure muscle, like steel."
Bruce had to work hard to develop those muscles. "l used to have a big, soft belly," he explained. "My stomach protruded and I looked terrible for a young guy. I decided to streamline my waist."
From that revelation, Bruce took up weight training. He was always a bundle of energy. He was like a small kid who would never tire. If he had his mind set to do something, nothing could have stopped him.
He combined weight training with his regular workout. He spent as much as four hours in his garage, hardly taking a break, as he worked on the equipment, built by his students to his specifications. He designed his weight-training workout to avoid bulky muscles that might interfere with his performance. For instance, he did not want muscles that restricted the movement of his elbows.
"You must tuck your elbows in quickly when a blow is directed to your midsection," he explained. "Some bodybuilders are so bulky that they have no way to defend the solar plexus area with efficiency. They can't cover the area with their elbows, so when they use another method to protect it, they leave other parts of their body open. Weight training is supposed to help you, not screw you.
Bruce concentrated heavily on his abdominal muscles because he believed that the body is "the biggest target and the least mobile. The more muscles you have around your abdomen, the more blows it can take." Bruce's body was covered with ripples of muscles. Broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted, he was the envy of even bodybuilders. To Bruce, training was a full-time job. Even while watching television, he would be in motion. He would do his sit-ups very slowly, his body descending slower than ascending. "You'll get more benefit by doing them slowly," he said. "It's not the number of repetitions, but the way it's done."
When he wasn't doing sit-ups, he would be squeezing a rubber ball or pumping a pair of dumbbells. Desiring accolades, many times he would ask a friend or acquaintance to place a hand on his abdomen or leg to "feel my stomach muscles" or "feel how hard my legs are."
Bruce wasn't particular about what he ate. He avoided cigarettes, wine and liquor, but never refused a cup of hot tea. He would eat anything: pork, chicken, fish, beef, vegetables. His favorite dishes were Chinese and Japanese.
Although he was small man, 5-foot-7 and 135 pounds, he had a voracious appetite. In a restaurant, he always ordered an additional plate of food for himself- one serving was not enough. He also drank a lot of water, probably because he perspired so much.
Bruce took a daily amount of vitamin pills, apparently influenced by the body-building magazine he subscribed to. He prided himself on being healthy.
One of the things that set Bruce Lee apart from other martial artists of his day was the bevy of unusual homemade training devices he had at his disposal. While other practitioners were training on conventional apparatuses, Lee was designing his own state-of-the-art equipment to give him that added edge. George Lee, who was Bruce's close friend and sometime training partner, was the man responsible for developing most of Lee's sketches and blueprints into working devices. What follows is George Lee's personal account of his working relationship with "The Dragon."
Much has been made of Bruce Lee's unusual training devices. While I built many of them, it was Bruce who actually designed them. He would make sketches, and then mail or give them to me, and I would bring them home and make the items.
He didn't use much of the traditional training equipment. At that time, there wasn't much on the market anyway. Being a machinist by trade, I was able to make his items in my shop in Northern California. It was something I was able to do for my friend Bruce. Whatever Bruce wanted, I did it. He was one hell of a nice guy.
Some of the more difficult devices made were the tombstone, the gripping machine and the shoes. These items took a little longer to make, mainly because Bruce was very particular, and I had to perfect them before they were acceptable to him.
I would make one device and send it to him, and he would say it wasn't right. He would give me his input, and I would go back to work on it. He was always improvising. He would want me to improve it. Some of the devices would take a little longer than the simpler ones. Much of the other training equipment I made for Bruce was pretty simple, like nunchaku and the three-section staff.
Bruce brought his own wing chun dummy in from Hong Kong; he didn't make that. The leg stretcher, nunchaku, three-section staff, wrist roller, and the isometric training device to strengthen the forearms were some of the more popular devices I made for Bruce. And the tombstone was certainly one of the most popular items that I made.
The more difficult devices often Took me up to six weeks to complete. The easy ones usually took maybe a week to finish. I put a lot of time into this effort. All of the kicking shields and punching bags I made took time. I made three kicking shields for him: a round one, one that looked like a shoe, and an oblong one. Bruce did not pay me for the devices; I did it as a favor to my friend. A lot of times, he would invite me to his home in Bel Air, California. He would show me a few extra fighting moves that he hadn't taught anyone else. That and his friendship were worth it for me.
Bruce's favorite device that I made was the finger-jab bowl. He would fill it with rice or sand or pebbles, and then he would jab his hand into it to straighten out his fingers. He used the punching bags a lot too. There were about seven or eight different ones that he put in his schools.
I still have pictures of all the things I made for Bruce. Most of the items were sold at the auction [of Bruce Lee memorabilia] in Beverly Hills, California, last year. But I still have copies [of the sketches] of all of them.
It seems from reading various Jeet Kune Do forums that there are two schools of thought on the importance of Wing Chun to Jeet Kune Do at the present time.
Some believe that Wing Chun was an essential element in the development of Jeet Kune Do in the past and still is today. Another school states that Bruce Lee moved away from the Wing Chun energy drills and trapping so that JKD came to resemble a form of advanced kickboxing. It is clear from Bruce's notes that JKD was comprised mostly from Wing Chun, Western Boxing and Western Fencing. It is also clear that when Bruce Lee started teaching students in Seatlle that what he was teaching was more Wing Chun than aything else. When he was teaching in Oakland, what he taught started to resemble Western Boxing in structure as well as technique. Once in Los Angeles he added the basic fencing theory of intercepting and Jeet Kune Do was born.
Instead of focusing on crashing the line and blasting, he started focusing on maintaining distance and intercepting an attack. Instead of focusing on gaining an attachment and then trapping and hitting, he started focusing on hitting with enough speed and deception that the opponent was not able to block it. While the Wing Chun elements were still taught, they just were not emphasized as much. This was however a slow transition. Those that were learning the first year or so at the L.A. Chinatown school were working more on the Wing Chun elements in their training than those who were there the last year that the school was open, or at Dan Inosanto's backyard school, once the Chinatown school was closed.
Even in the backyard class some people had success in sparring by crashing the line while others preferred to kee distance and intercept. Either method was considered more of a personal preference than the "way" to do it correctly. Whatever worked for you was the right way for the individual student. Some focused in their training on boxing drills and hitting the pads, some focused their training more on trapping and chi sao, some on footwork and intercepting. But at the same time all of these things were taught to the students at the Chinatown school as well as the backyard school. After Bruce passed away, some of the students started teaching. Some were more versed in the Wing Chun elements so they focused on those. Some focused more on the boxing elements. While some on footwork and intercepting. Some also tried to work on all three. Whatever they were teaching became a set agenda ad a correct way to approach combat. As Bruce told Dan Lee that one of the fears he had was that his students that learned in his schools would then "take the agenda as the way." In other words they would become stuck in whatever agenda there was and no longer bothered to do any research, experiment or test what they were teaching against other arts.
Even those who feel that Wing Chun no longer has much value need to understand that there are times and situations where straight Wing Chun elements are necessary. The fact of the matter is that in combat you cannot always be in control of distance or the environment. I remember Dan Inosanto asking his students in one of the backyard sessions, "In a fight what would you rather have a hand grenade or a knife?" Most would say the hand grenade. Dan then said, "What if you were in a phone booth?" Sometimes you need one and sometimes the other.
There are times when the Wing Chun elements maybe essential to your survival. Let's take the 4 corners from Wing Chun as an example:
If you are in a matched ready stance at the fighting measure, you may be able to intercept your opponent's attack.
If you are in an unmatched stance, it may be more efficient to counter his jab with a sliding leverage principle from Wing Chun.
When applying the inside sliding leverage with the cross parry, it is very important to remember that if your opponent strikes you with his left punch and you try to use a straight lead finger jab to the inside line as a counter, he will have the advantage of the sliding leverage Wing Chun principle and his sliding leverage will be superior and his punch will land.
When an opponent strikes to the outside gate and you are going to use inside sliding leverage, to be successful you will have to use a square shoulder sliding leverage finger jab attack to the same eye as the attacking arm. This will give you the leverage advantage. It is in a case like this that knowing some Wing Chun will come in handy.
If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, you may be i crowded place and your attacker may be close to you, or your awareness is nt there and you have let a possible attacker get close to you, you are not in any kind of stance. Most of the time when someone is attacjked they are usually taken off guard. We seldom are able to have the time to get in a fighting sance. Most of the time such a stance may appear too aggressive and give out too much information. Instead of jumping into a stance at the first sign of trouble and loudly announcing that you are a black belt, we try to teach our students to appear non-threatening. We find it best and try to teach our students that no matter where they are that they should have a natural stance with their strong foot forward.
Unfortunately you may be caught unaware and be too close to your opponent to intercept with a long-range punch, and you may have to rely on the square shoulder Wing Chun punch.
While this may be enough to finish the fight you may need to straight blast from the Wing Chun elements of JKD or follow up with Western Boxing strikes until your opponent is no longer a threat.
In the first examples from above we were using Wing Chun self defense principles while using a JKD structure. In the example of the inside sliding leverage we are showing a Wing Chun technique purely from a Wing Chun structure. The final example shows that when an opponent is too close to you, Wing Chun may be the best solution. While these are just a few examples of the usefulness of the Wing Chun elements in JKD, we hope you understand that there are many more examples that we could have come up with.
Remember Wing Chun is a close range art, and since we cannot always dictate what range we are going to be in, knowing some of the elements of Wing Chun may be what you need to survive. The Wednesday Night Group believes that knowing the basic elements of Wing Chun is essential to understanding and being able to apply Jeet Kune Do.
It is absolutely amazing how much of an impact that Bruce Lee's strength and physical development have had on athletes, bodybuilders and average men all over the face of the globe. As a young boy in high school, I can clearly recall all of the talk among my friends about the great Bruce Lee; they all were intimately familiar with Bruce's films; and they would discuss not just his epochal martial arts skills, but, also, his incredible strength and lean, shredded physique. As Mr. Little reports in his article, even such a personage as Joe Weider remarked on the astounding muscular refinement and definition of Lee's physique, especially the master's abs. As Mr. Little also explains, Bruce Lee's physique had a remarkable influence on some of today's top physique champs. Bodybuilding luminaries, including Lou Ferrigno, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Rachel Mclish, Lenda Murray, Flex Wheeler and Shawn Ray have all spoken on record concerning the enormous impact the physique of Bruce Lee had on them. Why? Why would the physique of the mighty mite, never massively developed along the lines of the bodybuilding greats I just enumerated, but described by some "as the most defined physique in the world." I leave that unanswered, as author, John Little, will provide an incisive, eloquent answer... Subsections in the article will titillate the legion of existing Lee fanatics, and whet the appetite of those for whom this article will serve as their initial introduction to the subject. For instance, Functional Strength, Unbelievable Strength, A Battle in San Fransisco, The Bodybuilding Connection and The Routine, will rivet the reader's focus such that he will finish this article in one reading, and prompt him to want to re-read it and re-re-read it. I've been extremely impressed over the years as to how many bodybuilders are also highly trained martial artists. In fact, over the years I having personally supervised the training of many martial artists, with many of my phone clients already being rabid Lee fans, and martial artists seeking the most efficient manner of training for strength and speed; which was the goal of Lee's training. Also, I receive more e-mails, letters and phone calls from martial artists than any other type of athlete. This I believe follows from Lee's well known concern with weight training to develop efficiency and strength. I am extremely proud to say that one of my best friends, for the past 22 years, wrote this article, which is excerpted from one of the 11 books he's written on Bruce Lee. I first met John Little at Eaton's department store in Toronto where Arnold, Franco and I had made an appearance for Weider and the IFBB, in 1979. We hit it off immediately, as John was philosophically oriented, along with having a passionate interest in bodybuilding. After that initial meeting, we met at Lou Hollozi's gym in Toronto in 1980, where I conducted a seminar; and, with that, John and I further cemented our friendship. Subsequently, John made a number of trips to Los Angeles, where he'd usually stay with me in my apartment in West Hollywood. His primary purpose in traveling to southern California was to pursue the subjects of those he wrote books about, including Steve Reeves and Lou Ferrigno. It was finally, in 1992, that Joe Weider brought John to Los Angeles to write for Flex. This only lasted three years, as John was more interested in writing freely about his passion, namely - philosophy, martial arts, the philosophy of Bruce Lee's, who, too, was a fervent student of philosophy, his personal library packed with philosophy books that extended from the floor to the ceiling and spanned the length of the room. His quest for the truth saw him avidly studying philosophies ranging from that of Krishnamurti's to our most revered, Ayn Rand. Bruce Lee's life was most interesting as he rose from a starving, poor boy in Hong Kong to the world's most celebrated movie star in Hollywood, having a greater impact on more people than that of Elvis Presley's, James Dean's and Marilyn Monroe's combined! I trust that you, dear reader, will gain much knowledge from John Little's article, along with the added inspiration that will act to have you approach your own training with greater inspiration and motivation than ever before. Above all else, I ardently desire that you will read John Little's superlative article mostly for the sheer pleasure of it. Mike Mentzer "If you're talking about combat -- as it is -- well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!" -- Bruce Lee (from the video, Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview) There's an anecdote that has endured some 28 years concerning the texture of the muscles that adorned the physique of the late martial arts pioneer/philosopher, Bruce Lee.
It concerns a lady named Ann Clouse, the wife of Robert Clouse, the man who directed Lee's last film Enter the Dragon for Warner Bros. It seems that Clouse's wife had ventured onto the set of the film and was mesmerized by Lee's incredible physique as he went through his paces choreographing the fight scenes for the film, stripped to the waist under the hot and humid Hong Kong sun. In between takes, Ann approached the young superstar and asked if she could "feel his biceps." "Sure," Lee responded -- it was a request he'd received on numerous occasions -- tensing his arm and inviting her to check it out for herself. "My God!" she exclaimed, drawing her hand back instantly, "It's like feeling warm marble!" "TYPE=PICT;ALT=BruceLee" It's fascinating that almost three decades later, people are still talking about the body of Bruce Lee -- although it is by no means surprising. The Lee physique, once described by no less an authority on such matters than bodybuilding magnate Joe Weider as "the most defined body I've ever seen!" has attracted (much like the man's martial art and philosophy) a following that not only rivals but exceeds those of Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe -- combined! Certainly his following exceeds that of any bodybuilder of a similar vintage. And even more fascinating is the fact that almost everyone gets something different out of Bruce Lee -- martial artists revere his physical dexterity, power, speed and the genius he displayed in bringing science to bear on the world of martial arts; moviegoers are impressed with the man's screen presence and animal magnetism, along with the fact that he single-handedly created a new genre of action film thus opening the door to the Stallones, Schwarzeneggers and Jackie Chans who were to follow in his footsteps; philosophers are impressed with Lee's ability to bridge the philosophical chasm separating East and the West and to synthesize the best aspects of both cultures. But there exists another pocket of humanity that sees in Lee something else -- although not entirely unrelated -- the bodybuilders. Bodybuilders, young and old, know from one quick glance at Lee's physique exactly how much labor went into its creation -- and they are, one and all, very impressed. Ironically, bodybuilding luminaries of no less stature than Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Rachel McClish, Lou Ferrigno, Lee Haney, Lenda Murray and former Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates -- that is to say, the best in the business - have all spoken on the record regarding the impact the physique of Bruce Lee had on their bodybuilding careers. "How could this be?" I can hear you ask, perhaps somewhat incredulously. After all, Lee was only 5'7" tall and checked in at a weight that fluctuated between 126 to 145 pounds! What could a behemoth like Dorian Yates, for example, see in Bruce Lee's physique that would give him grounds for any form of inspiration? The answer, in a word, would be quality. There has seldom been seen - this side of a jungle cat -- the incredible sinewy and ripped-to-the-bone quality of muscle displayed by Bruce Lee. He was ripped in places that bodybuilders are just now (28 years later) learning they can train. Every muscle group on his body stood out in bold relief from its neighbor -- not simply for show (unlike many bodybuilders) but for function. Lee was, to quote his first student in the United States, Seattle's Jesse Glover, "above all else, concerned with function." Lee's body was not only a thing of immense grace and beauty to watch in action, but it was supremely functional. Leaping eight feet in the air to kick out a light bulb (as evidenced in Lee's office-wrecking scene in the MGM movie Marlow), landing a punch from five feet away in five-hundredths of a second and catching grains of rice -- that he'd thrown into the air -- with chopsticks were things Lee had trained his body (and reflexes) to accomplish. In fact, during his famous "Lost Interview" Lee referred to his approach to training as "the art of expressing the human body." Indeed, perhaps never before has there been such an incredible confluence of physical attributes brought together in the form of one human being -- lightening fast reflexes, supreme flexibility, awesome power, feline grace and muscularity combined in one total -- and very lethal -- package. Furthermore, the Lee physique was balanced and symmetrical and, while not everyone can be said to admire the massive musculature of our Olympians, everyone -- or so it would seem (including the world's greatest bodybuilders) admire the "total package" that was Bruce Lee. All of the aforementioned champion bodybuilders have indicated that Bruce Lee was a major influence on their bodybuilding careers, which is no small accomplishment when one considers the fact that Lee never entered a physique contest in his life. Ironically, despite his influence being, felt by the hardest of hard-core bodybuilders, Lee himself was never interested in developing a massive musculature. One of Lee's closest friends and an instructor in Lee's art of Jeet Kune Do, Ted Wong, recalls that "Bruce trained primarily for strength and speed." The physique -- while certainly appreciated by Lee -- came almost as a by-product of such training. According to those who met him, from Hollywood producers to his fellow martial artists, Lee's muscles carried considerable impact. Taky Kimura, one of Lee's closest friends (in fact, the best man at Lee's wedding in 1964) recalls that Lee was never loath to remove his shirt and display the results of his labors in the gym -- often just to see the reactions of those around him. "He had the most incredible set of lats I'd ever seen," recalled Kimura, "and his big joke was to pretend that his thumb was an air hose, which he'd then put in his mouth and pretend to inflate his lats with. He looked like a damn cobra when he did that!" Lee's physique holds up under scrutiny and has survived the passage of time simply because it possessed what many consider to have been the perfect blend of razor-sharp cuts, awesome muscularity, great shape and an almost onion skin definition. The muscles that bulged and rippled across the Lee physique were thick, dense, well-chiseled from their neighbor and, above all, functional. Functional StrengthDan Inosanto, another of Lee's close friends and himself an instructor in Lee's art, adds that Lee was only interested in strength that could readily be converted to power. "I remember once Bruce and I were walking along the beach in Santa Monica, out by where the 'Dungeon' (an old-time bodybuilding gym) used to be," recalls Inosanto, "when all of a sudden this big, huge bodybuilder came walking out of the Dungeon and I said to Bruce, 'Man, look at the arms on that guy!' I'll never forget Bruce's reaction, he said 'Yeah, he's big -- but is he powerful? Can he use that extra muscle efficiently?" Power, according to Lee, lay in an individual's ability to use the strength developed in the gym quickly and efficiently; in other words, power was the measure of how quickly and effectively one could summon and coordinate strength for "real-world" purposes. On this basis, according to those who worked out with Lee from time to time such as martial arts actor Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee -- pound for pound-- might well have been one of the most powerful men in the world.
"TYPE=PICT;ALT=BruceLee" Unbelievable StrengthLee's feats of strength are the stuff of legend; from performing push-ups - on one hand! - or thumbs only pushups, to supporting a 125-pound barbell at arms length in front of him (with elbows locked) for several seconds, or sending individuals (who outweighed him by as much as 100 pounds in some instances) flying through the air and landing some 15 feet away as a result of a punch that Lee delivered from only one-inch away, the power that Bruce Lee could generate -- at a mere bodyweight of 135 pounds -- is absolutely frightening. Not to mention some of his other nifty little habits like thrusting his fingers through full cans of Coca-Cola and sending 300 pound heavy bags slapping against the ceiling with a simple side kick. Strength training -- qua strength training -- was Lee's primary objective with resistance exercise. Later, as we shall soon see, his training evolved into more specialized applications that were beneficial to his specific goals as a martial artist. But before we get to there, let's first take a look at how Lee was first drawn to bodybuilding. Ideals & PossibilitiesFor a number of years, Lee had made a concerted study of exercise physiology and anatomy. Refusing to merely accept tradition for tradition's sake - a stance that made him increasingly unpopular with the majority of his fellow martial artists who had been raised and were now in the process of passing on (without questioning) the various martial traditions of the East -- Lee's background in physiology and kinesiology had imbued him with the ability to discern a useful exercise from an unproductive one and therefore he was able to avoid the obstacle of wasted time in any of his workouts. Lee believed that the student of exercise science should aim at nothing less than physical perfection, with all that it implies in its totality; he should want great strength, great speed, great coordination, exuberant health, and, by no means least, the muscular beauty of form which distinguishes a physically perfect human being. To Lee, the whole secret of success in bodybuilding lay in the principle of progressive resistance, but he also recognized that there was another component that had won a place in the vocabulary of physical culture and that word was persistence. Certainly Lee was nothing if not persistent in his quest to fully explore and express the potential of his body, a physique that not only looked phenomenal on a movie screen but that also possessed a musculature that was geared for function. Given the physiological fact that a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle, it was only natural that Lee would in time come to appreciate the superior health-building benefits of bodybuilding -- but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let us now examine the situation that first caused Lee to appreciate bodybuilding and then we shall focus on what routine he utilized to build the muscles that served him with such tremendous efficiency. While Lee may have been aware of the general benefits to be had from a program of progressive bodybuilding exercises, it took a violent encounter to make him fully cognizant of the merits that a more regular and dedicated approach to bodybuilding could provide. A Battle in San FranciscoOne evening while Lee was preparing to teach a class to a group of select students in his modest San Francisco kwoon (kung fu school), the door to his school suddenly flew open and in walked a group of Chinese martial artists led by a practitioner who was considered to be their best fighter and the designated leader of the troupe. According to Lee's wife, Linda, who was both present and eight months pregnant with the couple's first child, Brandon, at the time, Lee had on a prior occasion been served with an ornate scroll saying in bold Chinese characters that he had an ultimatum: stop teaching non-Chinese students Gung fu (the Cantonese pronunciation of Kung Fu) or be prepared to fight with San Francisco's top Kung Fu man. Now, the day of reckoning had come. Lee handed the scroll disdainfully back to their leader. "I'll teach whomever I choose," he said calmly. "I don't care what color they are." While Lee's non-racist views are today generally applauded, in San Francisco's Chinatown in the mid 1960s they were tantamount to treason -- at least within the Chinese community. Indeed, teaching Chinese combative "secrets" to non-Chinese races was perceived as the highest form of treason in the martial arts community. By his words and demeanor, Lee had effectively thrown the gauntlet back at the feet of his would-be challenger and, while Lee had many virtues, it is well known among his friends, family and students that patience in suffering fools and their ignorance was not one of them. A fight immediately broke out and, in a matter of seconds, Lee had the previously bold and self-righteous kung fu "expert" running for the nearest exit. Finally, after much legwork, Lee was able to throw his man to the floor and extract a submission from him. In a rage, Lee threw the entire troupe off the premises, cursing them out in Cantonese, en route. However, Lee quickly learned -- to his shock, given that the fight had lasted all of three minutes -- that he had expended a tremendous amount of energy in the altercation. "He was surprised and disappointed at the physical condition he was in," recalled Linda of the occasion. "He'd thought that the fight had lasted way too long and that it was his own lack of proper conditioning that made it such a lengthy set-to. He had felt inordinately winded afterwards." It was this fight more than any other single event that had given Lee sufficient cause to thoroughly investigate alternate avenues of physical conditioning. His conclusion? He would need to develop considerably more strength -- of both his muscles and cardiovascular system -- if he was ever to become the complete martial artist he had envisioned becoming.
The Bodybuilding ConnectionKnowing that the muscle magazines were the only existing source of current health and strength training information, Lee immediately began to subscribe to all of the bodybuilding publications he could find. He ordered bodybuilding courses out of the magazines and tested their claims and theories. He made a habit out of frequenting second-hand bookstores and purchasing books on bodybuilding and strength training, including one written by Eugene Sandow entitled Strength & How to Obtain It -- which was originally published in 1897. Lee's hunger for knowledge in the field of bodybuilding ran so high, that he purchased everything he could get his hands on -- from "hot off the press" courses to back list classics. No price was too high for knowledge, particularly if its application resulted in the acquisition of greater bodily strength, power and physical efficiency. From this point on until his eventual death in July of 1973 (of a cerebral edema), Bruce Lee amassed a tremendous personal library of books on philosophy, martial art and an extensive selection of tomes that dealt extensively with physical fitness, bodybuilding, physiology and weight lifting. Lee would underline certain passages of text that he found particularly meaningful and would constantly jot down thoughts of how this information could be applied to martial art in the margins of the books. "Bruce used to come into his school in L.A.'s Chinatown with an armful of articles from the muscle magazines," recalls Inosanto. "He'd say 'look at this: these bodybuilders all say that they do this in order to increase their strength -- it's a common denominator running throughout all of their writings.' He'd look for consistency in things like that and would compare and eliminate the additional data that he felt was superfluous." The RoutineAfter much research, and with the help of two bodybuilders who were also his close friends and students in the San Francisco Bay area, Lee devised a three-day-per-week bodybuilding program that he felt fit his strengthening and bodybuilding needs perfectly. According to one of these men, Allen Joe, "James Lee and I introduced Bruce to the basic weight training techniques. We used to train with basic exercises like squats, pullovers and curls for about three sets each. Nothing really spectacular but we were just getting him started." This program actually served Lee well from 1965 through until 1970 and fit in perfectly with Lee's own philosophy of getting the maximum results out of the minimum -- or most economical -- expenditure of energy. The every-other-day workout allowed for the often neglected aspect of recovery to take place. Lee coordinated his bodybuilding workouts in such a way so as to insure that they fell on days when he wasn't engaged in either endurance-enhancing or overly strenuous martial art training. The program worked like magic; increasing Lee's bodyweight from an initial 130 pounds to -- at one point -- topping out at just over 165 pounds! According to Glover, however, Lee wasn't particularly pleased with the added mass; "I noticed that he was bigger after he was weight training. There was a time after he went to California that he went up to 165 pounds. But I think it slowed him down because that was real heavy for Bruce. He looked buff like a bodybuilder. And then, later on I saw him and this was all gone. I mean, one thing that Bruce was [about] was function -- and if stuff got in the way, then it had to go. Bruce wanted his weight training to complement what he did in the martial arts. A lot of what Bruce was doing was about being able to maintain arm positions that nobody could violate in a fight. Like, if you take most people who are into bodybuilding or weight training, most of them are interested in simply building up their muscles to a bigger size, particularly the major muscle groups -- not much attention is paid to the connective tissues, like ligament and tendon strength. Well, Bruce's thing was 'let's build up the connectors and we won't worry so much about the size of the muscle.' Again, Bruce was about function." Gearing his training for function, Lee's bodybuilding routine incorporated the three core tenets of total fitness- stretching for flexibility, weight training for strength and cardiovascular activity for his respiratory system -- the original cross-trainer!
Bruce Lee's "Lethal Physique" Bodybuilding Program(performed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) Exercise Sets Repetitions Clean & Press 2 8 Squats 2 12 Pullovers 2 8 Bench Presses 2 6 Good Mornings 2 8 Barbell Curls 2 8 The Breakdown of the Routine: 1.) Clean & Press: Lee would begin this movement by taking a shoulder-width grip on an Olympic barbell. Bending his knees, he would squat down in front of the resistance and, with a quick snap of his arms and a thrust from his legs, clean the barbell to his chest and stand up. After a brief pause, Lee would then thrust the barbell to arms length overhead, pause briefly, and then lower the barbell back to the top of his chest. After another brief pause, he would lower the barbell back to the floor (the starting position). With absolutely no rest, Lee would then initiate his second repetition of the movement and continue to do so until he had completed eight repetitions. After a very brief rest, so as to take full advantage of the cardio-respiratory benefits as well as the strength-building benefits, Lee would perform a second -- and final -- set.
2.) Squats: This staple of bodybuilding movements was the cornerstone of Bruce Lee's barbell training. He had dozens of articles that he'd clipped out on the mechanics and benefits of squats and he practiced many variations of this exercise. In his routine, however, he performed the exercise in the standard fashion. Resting a barbell across his shoulders, Lee would place his feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Making sure that he was properly balanced, Lee would slowly ascend to a full squat position. With absolutely zero pause in the bottom position, Lee would then immediately return -- using the strength of his hips, glutes, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps -- to the starting position, whereupon he would commence rep number two. Lee would perform 12 repetitions in this movement and, after a short breather, return and re-shoulder the barbell for one more set of 12 reps. 3.) Pullovers: Although there exists no physical evidence that Bruce Lee supersetted barbell pullovers with squats, there is reason to believe that this was case -- if only for the fact that such was the method advocated in the articles he read. Squats were considered a great "overall" muscle builder, whereas pullovers were simply considered a "rib box expander" or "breathing exercise." Consequently, the fashion of incorporating pullovers in the late 1960s and early 1970s was as a "finishing" movement for squats. This being the case, Lee would perform the movement in the standard fashion; i.e., by lying down on his back upon a flat bench and taking a shoulder-width grip on a barbell that he would then proceed to press out to full extension above his chest. From this position, Lee would lower the barbell -- making sure to keep a slight bend in his elbows so as not to strain the elbow joint -- behind his head until it touched the floor ever so slightly and provided a comfortable stretch to his lats. From this fully-extended position, Lee would then slowly reverse the motion through the contraction of his lats, pecs and long-head of the triceps. He would repeat this movement for two sets of eight repetitions. 4.) Bench Presses: Bruce Lee was able to develop an incredible chest musculature. His upper pecs were particularly impressive, bunching and splitting into thousands of fibrous bands. And, as far as his personal training records indicate, the only direct barbell movement he performed to develop his chest was the good old fashioned bench press. Lying down upon a flat bench, and again taking a shoulder-width grip on an Olympic barbell, Lee would press the weight off the support pins to arms length above his chest. From this locked-out position, Lee would then lower the barbell to his chest and, exhaling, press it back up to the fully-locked out (or starting) position. He would repeat this movement for six repetitions and then, after a brief respite, return to the bench for one more set of six reps. 5.) Good Mornings: A word of caution about this exercise. Lee performed this movement to strengthen his lower back. However, one day in early 1970 he loaded up the bar with 135 pounds (his bodyweight at the time) and -- without a warm up -- proceeded to knock off eight repetitions. On his last rep he felt a "pop" and found out later that he had damaged the fourth sacral nerve of his lower back. The result was the Lee had to endure incredible back pain for the remainder of his life. This is not to say that the movement is without merit, just make sure that you perform an adequate warm-up prior to employing, it. Placing a barbell across his shoulders, Lee would place his feet three inches apart (Lee would later confide to Dan Inosanto "You really don't need any weight but the empty bar on your shoulders Dan -- it's more of a limbering movement") and bend over from the waist keeping his hands on the barbell at all times. Lee would bend over until his back was at a 90 degree angle to his hips and then return to the upright position. Lee performed two sets of eight repetitions of this movement. 6.) Barbell Curls: Bruce Lee performed barbell curls not only in his garage gym on Roscomare Avenue in Bel Air, but also in his studio office in Hong Kong. They were a staple or "core" movement in his weight training routine and were also responsible for building a very impressive pair of biceps on Lee -- not to mention incredible pulling power, which he used to such good effect in all of his sparring sessions! To perform this movement properly, Lee would take a comfortable shoulder-width grip on the barbell with his palms facing forwards. Keeping a slight bend in his knees for stabilization purposes, Lee would then contract his biceps and curl the barbell up to a point level with his upper pecs. Pausing briefly in this fully-contracted position, Lee would then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Two sets of eight repetitions of this movement would typically wrap up Lee's bodybuilding routine. Going Beyond "Routine" According to Inosanto, Lee didn't just train with the above listed exercises. He would also incorporate weight training into his martial art workouts. "Bruce would always shadow box with small weights in his hands and he'd do a drill in which he'd punch for 12 series in a row, 100 punches per series, using a pyramid system of 1,2,3,5,7 and 10-pound weights -- and then he'd reverse the pyramid and go 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 and finally "zero" weight. He had me do this drill with him and -- Man! -- what a burn you'd get in your delts and arms!" It didn't stop there however. When Lee wasn't training with weights in his martial art workouts or during one of his three designated whole-body training sessions, he could be found curling a dumbbell in the office in his house. "He was always using that dumbbell," recalls Linda in looking back on her husband's training habits. "Bruce had the unique ability to be able to several things at once. It wasn't all unusual for me to find him watching a boxing match on TV, simultaneously performing a full side splits, while reading a book in one hand and pumping a dumbbell in the other." Incredible Abs By far the most impressive of all of Lee's bodyparts was his abdominal muscles, which he trained daily. "Bruce always felt that if your stomach wasn't developed, then you had no business sparring," recalls Wong. "He was a fanatic about abdominal training," concurs Linda, "he was always doing sit-ups, crunches, Roman Chair movements, Leg Raises and V-ups." Chuck Norris has gone on record recalling the time that he went to visit the Lee family and seeing Bruce lying on the living room floor bouncing his son Brandon on his abdomen while simultaneously performing dumbbell flyes for his pecs and leg raises for his abs - and watching television to boot! Forearms of Steel
In order to improve his gripping and punching power, Lee became an avid devotee of forearm training, While many champion bodybuilders shy away from direct forearm training, Lee made it a point to train his forearms daily. "He was a forearm fanatic," laughs Linda in retrospect. "If ever any bodybuilder -- such as Bill Pearl -- came out with a forearm course, Bruce would have to get it." Bruce even commissioned an old friend of his from San Francisco, George Lee (no relation) to build him several "Gripping machines" to which Lee would add weight for additional resistance. "He used to send me all of these designs for exercise equipment," recalls George Lee, "and I'd build them according to his specs. However, I wasn't altogether foolish," he says with a laugh, "I knew that if Bruce was going to use it, it must be effective, so I'd build one to send to him and another for me to use at home!" Allen Joe recalls that Lee had a favorite dumbbell exercise that he used to train his forearms with constantly: "Bruce was always working on his forearms. He'd pick up a weight and go to the edge of the sofa and start doing wrist curls while he was watching TV. Then he'd do his abdominal work -- and then he'd return to his forearm training. The dumbbell curl he liked best was a Zottman curl, where you would curl the weight up one side of your body and then you twist it and bring it down on the other side. He'd do that all the time!" Knowledge Is Power For the past seven years I've been hard at work compiling all (and I mean ALL) of Bruce Lee's training programs, notes and annotations on physical training for a book series that, like Lee's training methods, has proved to be constantly evolving (the training material has been presented in the book entitled The Art of Expressing The Human Body, Tuttle Publishing, Boston). And what amazes me after having looked through all of his materials is just how thorough his knowledge of training actually was. Lee collected over 140 books on bodybuilding, weight training, physiology and kinesiology during his lifetime, in addition to well over 2,000 books on philosophy and the martial arts. Lee believed that you could never know "too much" about a subject that could benefit your health and he lived his entire life trying to acquire as much knowledge about health and fitness as he could. Although Lee is no longer with us, his teachings and his example live on. Certainly this is so in the realm of exercise science. Lee epitomized the athletic ideals of diligence, hard work, bearing up under adversity and refusing to short-change either oneself or one's potential. "Low aim is the biggest crime a man can commit," he once told Tae Kwon Do Master, Jhoon Rhee. "Remember, Life is a journey, not a destination." The Roman philosopher Seneca once said that, "Life, if thou knowest how to use it, is long enough." If this is so, then Bruce Lee's life was long enough to be a fulfilling one, perhaps - given what he accomplished and the enduring influence of his example -- it might just be considered one of the more meaningful lives of the twentieth century. And it was Lee's commitment to excellence - and to a principled approach to training - that resulted in the creation of one of the greatest physiques in modern history.
Although Bruce Lee is best known as a martial artist and actor, Lee majored in philosophy at the University of Washington. Lee's books on martial arts and fighting philosophy are well‑known both for their philosophical assertions both inside and outside of martial arts circles. His philosophy often mirrored his fighting beliefs, though he was quick to claim that his martial arts were solely a metaphor for such teachings. His influences include Taoism and Buddhism. The following are some of Bruce Lee's quotes on that reflect his fighting philosophy, primarily derived from Jiddu Krishnamurti's teachings.
"If I tell you I'm good, you would probably think I'm boasting, If I tell you I'm no good, You KNOW I'm lying." "Be formless... shapeless like water. If you put water into a cup it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be water, my friend..." "Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it." "The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to "do" the punch, or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over, will only work to opposite effect." "Mere technical knowledge is only the beginning of Kung Fu, to master it, one must enter into the spirit of it." "There are lots of guys around the world that are lazy. They have big fat guts. They talk about chi power and things they can do, but don't believe it." "I'm not a master, I'm a student‑master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning, So I'm a student‑master. I don't believe in the word master, I consider the master as such when they close the casket." "Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there." "Jeet Kune Do, It's just a name, don't fuss over it. There's no such thing as a style if you understand the roots of combat." "Unfortunately, now in boxing people are only allowed to punch. In Judo, people are only allowed to throw. I do not despise these kinds of martial arts. What I mean is, we now find rigid forms which create differences among clans, and the world of martial art is shattered as a result." "I think the high state of martial art, in application, must have no absolute form. And, to tackle pattern A with pattern B may not be absolutely correct." "True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns." "The other weakness is, when clans are formed, the people of a clan will hold their kind of martial art as the only truth, and do not dare to reform or improve it. Thus they are confined in their own tiny little world. Their students become machines which imitate martial art forms." "Some people are tall, some are short. some are stout, some are slim. There are various different kinds of people. If all of them learn the same martial art form, then who does it fit?" "Ultimately, martial art means honestly expressing yourself. It is easy for me to put on a show, and be cocky so I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly enough; that my friend is very hard to do." "Use no way as way, use no limitation as limitation." �?�
With his ancestral roots coming from Gwan'on in Seundak, Guangdong province of China, Guangdong Shunde Jun'An), a street in the village is named after him where his ancestral home is situated. The home is open for public access. Bruce Lee was named TIME Magazine's 100 Most Important People of the Century and as one of the greatest heroes & icons and among the influential martial artists of the 20th century. The 1993 film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a slightly fictionalized biographical film about Bruce Lee. In 2001, LMF, a Cantonese hip‑hop group in Hong Kong, released a popular song called "1127" as a tribute to Bruce Lee. The lyrics include: "We only want you to become a Chinese you can be proud of. Learn from others; Need not copy. Use your heart to digest the knowledge of others. Try asking why there are so many failures here who do not support each other and always pretend to be like the other. [Chorus] We had Bruce Lee teach us we are not the disease of Asia. Though having yellow skin, we can still be ourselves. Do not follow, copy, and be like the other. Do not look down upon ourselves.... The spirit of Bruce Lee will never die and the Chinese will never forget that." In 2004, UFC president Dana White credits Bruce Lee as the "father of mixed martial arts". In September 2004, a a BBC story stated that the Herzegovinian city of Mostar was to honour Lee with a statue on the Spanish Square, as a symbol of solidarity. After many years of war and religious splits, Lee's figure is to commend his work: to successfully bridge culture gaps in the world. The statue, placed in the city park, was unveiled on November 26, 2005 (One day before the unveiling of the statue in Hong Kong, below). In 2005, Lee was remembered in Hong Kong with a bronze statue to mark his 65th birthday. The bronze statue, unveiled on November 27, 2005 honored Lee as "Chinese film's bright star of the century". Q���ڷW���[����~)
-by Terry L. Wilson
While working on the "Green Hornet," Bruce Lee and Gene LeBell formed a lasting friendship based on martial arts. Judo and wrestling legend Gene LeBell has hooked horns with the best in the game and in the process has earned the moniker "The Toughest Man Alive," by his peers. One of those to sing the praises of "Judo" Gene was Bruce Lee. In addition to his years of training and teaching martial arts, Gene is also one of Hollywood's top stuntmen. In fact, it's almost impossible to watch an action film without seeing Gene firing a machine gun, getting tossed out of a window or taking a fall for one of the superstars of the silver screen.
It was because of Gene's prowess in the martial arts and his popularity in Hollywood's stunt community that he was called in to check out a "new guy" by the name of Bruce Lee. I met Bruce when he was working on the television series, "Green Hornet," I recalled LeBell. Benny Dobbins was stunt coordinator for the show and he called and asked me to check out some kid by the name of Bruce Lee. "I got this guy who does the same stuff you do," Dobbins said. Of course, Benny didn't know the difference between judo and kung-fu, but he wanted me to watch this new actor work. One of the first things I noticed was that although Bruce was small, about 130 pounds, he had a tremendous upper body. Bruce was also very fast and wanted to always take the action beyond what the script called for. Once the director called action, he got that and a lot more from Bruce." Bruce Soars to New Heights New to American humor, the Chinese actor didn't know what to make of it when Gene hoisted him over his shoulders and ran up and down the stairs doing a fireman's carry with Lee draped over his shoulders. "Stuntmen and wrestlers have their own brand of humor and at first Bruce didn't take my little joke too kindly," LeBell said with a chuckle. "Eventually he realized we were just welcoming him into our group and before long he fit right in with the rest of the rowdy stuntmen." Gene went on to do stuntwork in many episodes of the "Green Hornet" with Lee. During their time together on the set, the future kung-fu superstar and the legendary judo master got to know each other. "Bruce liked doing parlor tricks on the set," recalled LeBell. "He would make a dollar disappear and other magic tricks. "You've got to remember when I first met him Bruce wasn't famous. Back then he was just another actor who did martial arts." Gene's Grappling Lesson LeBell and Lee became friends and frequently trained at each other's dojo. It was during these sessions that Bruce was introduced to Gene's grappling skills, and in return Bruce taught Gene how to kick. "At that time I had a small dojo near Paramount Studios," LeBell explained. "Bruce would come to my school and I'd go to his. Back then he had a small school in Chinatown. We worked out on a one-on-one basis and we both learned a great deal from each other. He taught me a lot of kung-fu moves that I had never seen before, and Bruce was phenomenal with his kicks. He taught me how to do crescent kicks and spinning backkicks. Of course, nowadays everybody does those kicks, but back then it was all new and exciting. In return, I showed Bruce some judo throws and grappling techniques. In fact, he used one of the judo grappling armbars I taught him in Enter The Dragon." Although Bruce was impressed with Gene's skill he wasnít taken with grappling as a sport that would ever draw a big audience. "I remember Bruce saying that pro wrestling would never be a popular spectator sport because they spend so much time struggling to get a hold or grip on each other," Gene said. "Bruce would say, "Wrestling is boring and people will turn on another channel." Well, I wonder what Bruce would say if he were around today and saw the WWF, which is the most popular show on television today." Grappling's "Green Hornet" As Gene and Bruce continued to work together on the "Green Hornet", the kung-fu star incorporated a few of Gene's judo moves into the action. "There was a couple of times when Bruce threw me using a judo throw during the filming of the ëGreen Hornets," Gene said. "He'd use a shoulder throw on me and I said to him, "Bruce, toss in a couple of your kicks and show off your versatility." Another time I did a martial arts demonstration with Bruce. I was throwing a bunch of people all over the place then Bruce came out and threw me using a judo throw. Iíve even got a tape of that somewhere around the house." Gene also recalled the time when his friend, martial arts legend Bob Wall, called and was all excited about working with Bruce Lee in the film Enter The Dragon. Bob called and said, "This guy is the toughest guy in the world." Of course, I'd been working with Bruce and I told Bob that Bruce was also the nicest guy in the world. Another thing that made Bruce a superstar was his outstanding showmanship and on-screen charisma." The Son Also Rises In addition to working with Bruce, Gene also shared a lot of screen time with his son, Brandon. "Brandon was a very tough martial artist and his dad would have been very proud of him," Gene said. "The way Brandon and I met was kind of funny. Mike Vendrell is a great stuntman as well as an outstanding martial artist and Brandon's kung-fu teacher; well, he frequently worked out with Brandon and one day Mike brought him to my dojo. Mike (Mike Vendrell is a man that Gene respects so much he named a move after him in his Encyclopedia of Finishing Holds: "The Vendrell Vice") introduced us and asked me to work out with Brandon. Brandon said, "You really want me to work with this old man?" Well I was about 50 then so I got on the mat and showed him how sadistic some old men are. (Gene claims he's still an old man and some claim he's just as sadistic. Gene's definition of "sadistic" is administering an attitude adjustment.) We had a lot of fun together and by the end of our workout I think Brandon went away with a newfound respect for judo and senior citizens." Following their initial meeting some time passed before Brandon and LeBell met again. This time it was on the set of the movie Rapid Fire. Gene was naturally playing the bad guy and Brandon the good guy. "I was shooting a machine gun and Brandon shot me during a fight sequence," Gene said. "I wanted them to let Brandon beat me up and throw me through a window so I could take some nice falls for him and really show off his martial arts skills. Unfortunately they didn't have time to do the extra stunts and it would have changed the script so Brandon just shot me. Too bad, it would have been fun if he could have beaten me up a little first. Brandon was a great, great athlete. I just wish he could beat me up on screen. I mean, every star in Hollywood has beaten me up at one time or another so it would have been nice if Brandon could have done that too." Like his father, Brandon realized that Gene's techniques could greatly augment his fight scenes in the movies so he sought out "Judo" Gene’s help to add some throws and locks to his growing martial arts repertoire.
"Brandon was really into his acting, but he also didn't mind mixing it up on the mat either," Gene said. "He came down to a few classes and we worked out together just like I did with his dad. Brandon was a tough little scrapper." In recounting his experiences with Bruce Lee, LeBell modestly said, "He learned a lot from me and I learned a lot from him. It was a tremendous experience knowing him and Brandon. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have shared mat time with such a nice and talented family."
-by David Tadman
The first knight of Hong Kong, the opera performer, the child actor, the rock star. These are just a few of the amazing stories you've heard about Robert Lee. Twenty-seven years after the death of his brother Bruce, there are so few stories to be told. Yet, so few have had the chance to hear Robert Lee's slant on life as a member of the Lee family. This interview will take you from the beginning of Robert's life, through Bruce's death and up to the present day, where the light of his life is his son, Clarence, who bears both an uncanny physical and emotional resemblance to his late uncle. INSIDE KUNG-FU: Robert, the Lee family was well-known even before the birth of your brother Bruce. Can you tell us the history of the Lee family? ROBERT LEE: Yes, my father was one of the top four opera comics in all of Hong Kong. At first there were many struggles, and then later in his career he became very famous. I guess you can say the entertainment blood ran first, through my father's veins. Not too many people know that my mother's uncle was the very first knight of Hong Kong. He was the first "Sir" in Hong Kong to be knighted by the King of England. That meant a lot for our family. My mother's father had 13 wives. Is that notorious enough? IKF: I know your father trained in tai chi chuan. Did you have any other relatives who trained in the martial arts around the same time as your father? RL: No I don't believe so. My father started training in tai chi because he was not feeling well. He knew he had to get his body back into shape and tai chi was perfect for that. The older Chinese people believe that tai chi gives the body a holistic workout. It's good for your soul and body. This is the reason for my father training in the art tai chi chuan. The only other family member I can think of who trained in the martial arts would be my cousin Frank. He trained with Bruce in wing chun. IKF: Was tai chi chuan the only martial art your father studied? RL: When my father trained with the Opera, he had to go through a lot of rigorous training, which involved many of the other arts, different animal systems and many acrobatics. I would say overall, he did study other arts, but mainly tai chi chuan. Looking back at my father's opera career it's similar in what Jackie Chan or Sammo Hung went through. He had to learn stunts, acrobatics, singing, etc. My father was a well-rounded entertainer. IKF: Was your father a philosophical man? RL: My father was a very traditional man and would always come up with certain quotes the older generations used to use. I remember he would always like to use famous quotes from generations past to teach us certain lessons. IKF: Can you tell us a little bit about your mother and how she raised you and Bruce along with your other siblings? RL: Well, my father did most of the raising with the traditional Chinese way, which at times could be very stern. My mother, on the other hand, was mixed Asian and European so she had more Western views on certain situations. Sometimes we would do some very bad things and she would hide them from our father. IKF: Are there any moments that stand out in your mind when growing up in Hong Kong you would like to share with us. RL: I used to hang out with my father in his room, and we use to talk about many different things. I was the youngest so my father liked playing around with me and things in that nature. I remember one day my father bought sticks of bamboo, and began to shape them with a knife. About a day or so later, I walked into the house and there was a bow made out of bamboo. That meant a lot to me, just knowing that my father was a very stern and strict man and at the same time, had a soft heart. To this day it is very touching for me. IKF: We all know that Bruce was a child actor. Does anything stand out about those times?
RL: I was very young at that time, but my mother used to tell us stories about Bruce as a child actor. She would say that Bruce was a very professional worker on the set. There were times when Bruce was on a break and they would call him back to work, and all of a sudden, he would stand at attention, take his acting directions and be a complete professional. No matter if it was late at night or early in the morning, being tired or bored, he would rise to the occasion and do his job. IKF: Did you ever want to pursue an acting career as a child or young adult? RL: I guess the entertainment blood runs in our family. My interest has always been music. When I turned around 14 or 15 I had the urge to sing, so I asked my mother if I could have a guitar. I knew if I asked my father he would say, "No way." He believed if it was a Western instrument, it was no good. It meant bad karma. The problem is that I wanted that guitar so badly, I kept asking my mother over and over again without my father's knowledge, and finally she gave in. The only way I could play it was to keep it in the servant's quarters, because I knew my father would never go in there. I would sit down without an amplifier and learn how to play it by myself. But to answer your question, acting was not my thing. IKF: Who was your inspiration as a musician at that time? RL: I really liked Ricky Nelson. IKF: Before Bruce left for the States, what was your relationship like with him? RL: Most of the time Bruce would be doing his own thing - either chasing girls or hanging around with friends. As time got closer toward his leaving Hong Kong, he became more somber. I remember one time shortly before Bruce left, we were playing on this huge bed we would frequent in one of the rooms. Anyway we were having fun and playing games and all of the sudden he stopped and looked at me and said, "Well Robert, you know I will be leaving in a couple of days." He looked at me in sadness and walked away. I look back now and realize he was showing me he was going to miss me. IKF: We all heard how Bruce as a young man would always get into trouble. Is there anything that stands out in your mind from those times? RL: Well, one day when I was at home I heard a knock at the door. I went to the door and opened it only to find Bruce with his head down looking toward the ground. I remembered a few days earlier I heard Bruce was supposed to fight some guy over a disagreement. As Bruce raised his head, I could see one of his eyes was black and blue. I started to laugh and Bruce said, "If you think this is funny, you should see the other guy, he has no more teeth. My mother rushed him into the maid's quarters and put a boiled egg on his eye. The Chinese people believe if you put an egg over a bruised eye, it will heel quickly, and she wanted to do anything to help the eye heal before my father saw it. Luckily my father never found out about that situation. IKF: I know your father showed Bruce a little tai chi chuan. Can you tell us anything about those times? RL: I remember I used to take a lot of pictures of my father training Bruce. As a matter of fact, a lot of those pictures you see in magazines with Bruce and my father training came from my camera. My father also showed me a little tai chi, those are great memories. I also remember taking all the film I shot and going under my staircase at home with a friend of mine and we would be developing the film. The only way we could do it was if we stole our mother's cigarettes and burned them so we can see the image on the negative. When we were done developing, we would leave the closet, choking on smoke. Who would know today that those pictures in a way would be priceless? IKF: Were there any special outings you took with Bruce and the rest your family before Bruce left for the States? RL: I'm glad you brought that up. My father used to love fishing, and on most weekends he would rent a boat. We all would drive to the countryside and get on the boat and go fishing and enjoy the day. Bruce did not like to go that often because he would always get seasick. But at the end of the day we would cook the fish and have a great lunch or dinner. Those were great times. IKF: Can you tell us how Bruce came to meet Yip Man? RL: When Bruce was about 14 he was a sharp dresser and always liked to flaunt himself to others. Because of this, he started getting into fights and ending up hurt. Bruce decided to learn how to protect himself and was then introduced to Yip Man by our father. IKF: What was Bruce's relationship like with Yip Man? RL: Yip Man believed Bruce had a lot of potential, so therefore he showed Bruce a lot of techniques. Some of these techniques were not even shown to the other students. It was great, everytime Bruce learned a new technique he would come home and show myself and my cousin, Frank. At this time Bruce had his own wing chun dummy and he would be practicing everyday.
IKF: Did you see any changes in Bruce's personality as his training grew with Yip Man? RL: No, not really. He was still very full of himself. He was still kind of showing off a lot. I noticed a big change when I came to the States in 1969. Bruce seemed to be more humble. At that time in his life, he knew what he could do, so all the pretense and cockiness I saw in Hong Kong was gone. He was more a philosophical and secure individual. I guess that was the new Bruce. IKF: Going back a little, when did Bruce get involved with cha cha dancing? RL: Bruce was about 17 and always chasing the girls, and the girls were always dancing cha cha at the nightclubs. As we know, Bruce could move pretty good and I guess the next step of things was to learn cha cha. At the beginning, Bruce did not know many steps in cha cha, but he compensated by knowing how to move well. At that time, Bruce used to go to a nightclub where the band members were all Filipino, and at that time the band members knew cha cha. From what I remember, the band members knew Bruce came a lot to the club and they all became friendly. After awhile they taught Bruce many different steps. That's how Bruce excelled in his dancing. IKF: How did Bruce's leaving Hong Kong effect the family? RL: As I remember, the whole family went to the dock where the ship was to depart and we all went up to his room where he began talking to my mother and father. I was still pretty young at that time and all I can remember was this huge ship and I was in awe. From what my mother had told me it was a somber time. She said when the whistle blew for the ship to leave we all had to leave Bruce on the ship. As we walked on to the dock, we could see Bruce from the second story of the ship, waving a streamer, which they gave to all the passengers. He was waving to us and that was it. IKF: I have had the privilege to see many rare notes from Bruce in your possession. Some of his notes document his complete trip to the States while on the ship. Tell us about some of those notes? RL: Bruce's notes basically document his day-to-day life on the ship. His teaching of cha cha and meetings of different people. Bruce did write a lot about teaching cha cha and in return he would get better accommodations and upgrades. He really liked that. IKF: When Bruce made it big with the "Green Hornet", how did your family react to his newfound fame in the states. RL: At that time my father died, so he did not have a chance to see his son with that success. My mother, on the other hand, was very proud of Bruce, as were the rest of us. I can remember watching it on television and thinking cool, that's my brother. The family though was kind of used to his success being a child actor. And all the people in Hong Kong already considered him a star from his early films. IKF: Within five years after Bruce arrived stateside he was introduced to a lot of martial artists. Did Bruce ever tell you about them? Did he have a favorite? RL: Bruce never discussed with me any of the martial artists he had met. He did tell me he really respected Muhammad Ali and thought he was a great fighter. IKF: When Bruce had his success in The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, etc., what was it like for your family? RL: At that time my mother and myself were stateside. When the movies came to the theaters, we would go see them. It was amazing. I would forget sometimes he was my brother and just get involved with the film like everyone else. It was amazing just to see him move on film. I remember just being blown away hearing people scream when Bruce made any type of fighting move. Man, he was the coolest. My mother couldn't get enough of the fans complimenting her son. I was very proud to be his brother. IKF: If Bruce were to describe his films in a brief sentence, what do you think he would say? Starting with The Big Boss. RL: Bruce would probably say it was a film I had to do to establish myself. IKF: Fist of Fury? RL: Bruce would say, I wanted to show the strength of the Chinese people. IKF: Way of the Dragon? RL: Bruce would say, I wanted to show my talents as a writer, producer and director and of course, acting.
IKF: Did he ever mention anything about his films, Enter the Dragon or Game of Death? RL: Not really, he was in the process of working on both films. All I can say is, he felt Enter the Dragon was going to be big, and he was very happy with the way it was coming out. IKF: I heard that Bruce was pretty impressed with your music career. Was this true? RL: Oh ya. I remember when I came over to the States, I brought singles that I recorded. I gave them to Bruce, and he would bring them over to James Coburn's house and they would listen to them. He would brag about me to his friends, and tell them how good of a musician I was. I remember one day I was playing my guitar in the living room, and Bruce approached and asked if it was hard to play the guitar. I told him not for me, and asked him if he would like me to show him a few chords. Well he sat down and for ten or 15 minutes he could not get it. He finally got up and walked away saying under his breath, "I will stick to martial arts." IKF: Bruce had many friends and students. If I were to mention a few, what two words would describe them, from your conversations with Bruce? RL: It would be hard to do it in just a few words, but I will try. IKF: Danny Inosanto? RL: True Friend. IKF: Taky Kimura? RL: True friend. IKF: Herb Jackson? RL: Loyal and dedicated. IKF: James Coburn? RL: Philosophical. IKF: Ted Wong? RL: Good Friend. IKF: Robert, I heard your son, Clarence, just signed a contract for film and music in Hong Kong. How does it feel that another generation ofthe Lee family is taking the show business path? RL: I have always tried to instill in my son to be yourself, to express yourself truthfully. If I can show him and help him develop his skill as a performer, and help him somehow find himself in all of that, I will be a very happy father. IKF: Is it true you will be re-recording the "Ballad of Bruce Lee", with your son in Hong Kong? RL: Funny enough, he wants to do it with me with a few new tricks added in. IKF: I had the privilege in meeting Clarence and was amazed in how much he looks liked a younger Bruce. Have you noticed any traits that your son has that remind you of Bruce? RL: My son is still young and is still finding his true self. If you mean by him being very independent and a go-getter, yes those were traits Bruce had. IKF: How does your son react knowing his uncle was the famous Bruce Lee? RL: He has always been amazed that Bruce is considered his uncle. He has always been very proud of that fact. He just wishes that he could have met him. But my son understands, he really does. IKF: Do you still write or record any music. RL: I'm always fine-tuning my craft, and hopefully in the near future, I will be doing a few projects with my son. IKF: I know you have been working on a few book projects, one about the Lee Family, and the other called Thirty-Two Dragons, which is a loving tribute to your brother. When are these due for release? RL: If all goes well, yes, these projects should he released soon.
IKF: Finally Robert, to all the fans that can't ask you questions about Bruce and your family, what would you like to say to them? RL: I would like to tell them on behalf of the Lee family, we thank all the fans an over the world for keeping Bruce's memory and vision alive. Bruce really wanted to please the world with his acting and martial arts, and I can see after 27 years he accomplished that goal. And I would also like to thank people like Danny Inosanto who stayed true to JKD and has helped it grow like Bruce would have wanted. And then there is Taky Kimura, whose loyalty and respect for Bruce can never be measured in words.
The following interview was conducted during Bruce Lee’s screentest for "Number One Son," a television series that was never made. Instead, Lee would be cast as "Kato" in The Green Hornet television series. However, this interview provides a unique keyhole through which to view Bruce Lee’s views on his life, art and career up to this time in his life (i.e., 1965). In two years time he would forsake much of the gung fu methodology he herein embraced, and would create the art of Jeet Kune Do and, ultimately, its application as the "way of no-way." The screentest is used in part in John Little’s forthcoming film, Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey, which also includes the never-before-seen "The Game of Death" footage we have all been waiting to see for so long. The screentest excerpt is transcripted here with permission. Now Bruce, just look right into the camera lens right here and tell us your name, your age and when you were born. BRUCE LEE: My last name is Lee, Bruce Lee. I was born in San Francisco. 1940. I'm 24 right now. And you worked in motion pictures in Hong Kong? BRUCE LEE: Yes, since I was around six years old. And when did you leave Hong Kong? BRUCE LEE: 1959. When I was eighteen. I see. Now look over to me, Bruce, as we talk. I understand you just had a baby boy? BRUCE LEE: (smiles) Yeah. And you've lost a little sleep over it, have you? BRUCE LEE: (laughs) Oh, three nights. And tell the crew what time they shoot the pictures in Hong Kong. BRUCE LEE: Well it's mostly in the morning because it's kind of noisy in Hong Kong, you know? Around three million people there, and so every time when they have a picture it's mostly, say, around 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the morning. I see. (sarcastically) You love that, do you? BRUCE LEE: (smiles) And you went to College in the United States? BRUCE LEE: Yes. And what did you study? BRUCE LEE: Ah, philosophy. I see. Now you told me earlier today, that karate and ju-jitsu are not the most powerful or the best forms of Oriental fighting. What is the most powerful or the best form? BRUCE LEE: (smiles) Well, it's bad to say "the best" but, in my opinion, I think Gung Fu is pretty good. And would you tell us a little bit about Gung Fu? BRUCE LEE: Well, Gung Fu was originated in China. It is the ancestor of karate and ju-jitsu. It's more of a complete system and it's more fluid. By that I mean, it's more flowing; there's continuity in movement instead of one movement, two movement and then stop.
Would you look right into the camera lens and explain the principle of the glass of water as it applies to Gung Fu? BRUCE LEE: Well, Gung Fu -- the best example would be a glass of water. Why? Because water is the softest substance in the world, but yet it can penetrate the hardest rock or anything -- granite, you name it. Water is also insubstantial; by that I mean you cannot grasp hold of it, you cannot punch it and hurt it. So every Gung Fu man is trying to do that; to be soft like water, and flexible and adapt itself to the opponent. I see. What's the difference between a Gung Fu punch and a karate punch? BRUCE LEE: Well, a karate punch is like an iron bar -- whack! A Gung Fu punch is like an iron chain with an iron ball attached to the end and it goes Wang! And it hurts inside (laughs). Okay. In a moment we're going to cut and in just a second we'll have you stand up and show us some Gung Fu and some movements in Gung Fu. BRUCE LEE: Okay. PART TWO:Now look directly into the camera Bruce. Now the camera will pull back and, Bruce, first show me the movements in the Classical Chinese Theater. BRUCE LEE: (curiously) "Classical Chinese Theater?" Well, you know, what we talked about in the office; how they walk and how they start a move. BRUCE LEE: Well in the Chinese Opera, they have the Warrior, and then the Scholar. The way the Warrior walks would be something like this; Walking this way, straight, come out -- bend [ing his leg], straight, and then walk out again. An ordinary scholar would be just like a female; a weakling -- 90 pounds in Charles Atlas (laughs). You would be just walking, you know, like a girl – real¼shoulders up and everything. So you can tell by the way they walk you can immediately tell who they are? BRUCE LEE: Right, what character they represent. Now show us some Gung Fu movements. BRUCE LEE: Well, it is hard to show it alone, but I will try and do my best. All right, maybe one of the fellows will walk in. Go ahead, Frank. (sounds of camera crew cajoling one of their senior members with "go ahead Frank," Come on, Lee -- get in there!") BRUCE LEE: (joking to crew) Although "accidents do happen," but, you know, there are various kinds of strikes. It depends on where you hit and what weapon you will be using. To the eyes you would use fingers. (he flicks out an eye jab and the man, startled, backs up a bit. Lee says to him: "Don't worry. I won't hit you." He fires a second eye jab) Or, straight to the face (he fires a straight punch), using the waist. (he fires a second punch) Everything on. (fires a third punch). Hold it just a minute. Let's move the gentleman around this way so that you're doing it more into the camera. (the questioner appear in the shot and guides the gentleman from a 90 degree angle to the left, so that the angle is more of a three-quarter or 45 degree angle) Okay, swell. BRUCE LEE: And then there is the bent-arm strike (Lee demonstrates a slow motion backfist)-- using the waist again -- into a backfist. (Lee performs one more slow-motion backfist, followed by one at half-throttle and two more lightening fast backfists). And let's have the Assistant Director back up just a little bit...(everyone laughs). Okay, go ahead. Continue. BRUCE LEE: And then, of course, Gung Fu is very sneaky; (sarcastically) you know the Chinese. They always hit low (he again performs a slow motion backfist to the man's head). From high (he moves his backfist from the man's head area quickly to a groin strike) -- go back to the groin.(the man reacts -- Bruce says "Don’t worry"). Now turn around the other way, would you Bruce? BRUCE LEE: Okay. Do you want him to move too? Yes. Man in Foreground: (trying to explain his reactions to Lee's techniques) These are just natural reactions.
BRUCE LEE: Right. Right (smiles). Look into the camera a little bit and show us again. BRUCE LEE: All right. There's the finger jab (performs a lighting-fast finger jab). There is the punch (performs a lightening-fast punch), there is the backfist (performs a lightening-fast backfist to the head), and then low (performs a lightening-fast backfist to the groin). Of course, then they use legs -- straight in the groin (performs a lightening-fast front kick to the man's groin area) and then come up (performs a high hook kick to the man's shoulder area). Or, if I can back up a little bit -- they start back from here (throws a high hook kick to the man's face area) and then come back. (Lee smiles and pats the man's shoulder: "He's kind of worried.") He has nothing to worry about. Now again, show us how a good Gung Fu man would very cooly handle it and then walk away, rather than get involved in a series of actions that...(a buzzer goes off, the man in the foreground turns and says "Sound!"). Okay. (scene ends). PART THREE:Now Bruce, so that we can clearly what you're doing this time, we'll face the fact that there's nobody there (i.e., in the shot with him). BRUCE LEE: Okay. Show me now the difference between Jiu-jitsu, which is long and involved, and Gung Fu, which is very quick, if you have an opponent. %'>
Bruce Lee: You saw the Tai Chi Self Defense?Dan: Yeah.Bruce: Well Dan, I hate to tell you this. If you were there, you would have seen all the foreign trend, sitting next to us watching all that fake. Jesus, you will be so embarrassed.Dan: Yeah it's a free brawl.Bruce: No, it's not even a free brawl. To be a free brawl, it at least be like that Joe Frazier. Now there's a man who is capable of using his tools and who is very determined in a savage leg less attack. When those son-of-a-bitches are cowardice, turning there heads when they swing there punch and after the Second Round they are out of breath. They're really pathetic looking, very, very amateurish. I mean even a boxer, they concentrate on two hands, regardless of how amateurish they are, they do there thing. But whereas most guys go out there and haven't decided what the hell they're going to use. Before they contact each other they do all the fancy stance and fancy movements but the minute they contact, they just don't know what the hell to do. I mean that's it. They're stiff and fall on there ass and they hug and hold and grapple. In Hong Kong, even those guys see it that way, I mean, what do you think of the appreciation of the people here. So what I'm hoping to do with film is to be just that man, to raise the level.Dan: A real mission there?Bruce: It is really.Dan: Yeah I mean it upgrades the respect from the Western World.Bruce: That's what I hope to do man. The reason I'm coming back is Warner Brothers want me to do a television series but I don't think I'll do it now. I'm going to concentrate in Hong Kong and do it.Dan: Yeah.Bruce: And naturally I might be able to expand it to here like the Italian picture, 'A Fistful of Dollars' and things like that if the quality can be uplifted. More and more it's becoming more simple as a human being, and the more I search myself. More and more the questions our more lifted and more and more I see clearly you know.Dan: It's really the simplicity.Bruce: It is. It really is man. You see what man has to get over is the consciousness of self.Dan: I always remember that you use to say, that you have to sharpen up your tools in order to make them work properly.Bruce: That's it you see. If you can move with your tools from any angle then you can adapt to whatever the object is in front of you.Dan: That's right.Bruce: And the clumsier, the more limited the object is, the easier for you to punch on it. That's what it amounts too. What it is -- it utilizes the body to come to some sort of a realization in regard of whatever your pursuit happens to be. In my case it's the pursuit of becoming moment to moment, whatever that thing is and constantly questioning myself you know. What is it Bruce? Is it true or is it not true? Do you really mean it or not mean it? Once I find it out -- that's it. My coming back to refuse the television series is one of the main conversations (Laughs).Dan: That's right. You come to the point where it's quite philosophical where you can see the ultimate goal.Bruce: I haven't as yet been able to control my anger (Laughs). I have a violent anger.Dan: This comes with age (Laughs).Bruce: Well it's not only that. If I just give me the time to just stop for a few minutes - I will be able to control it. But unfortunately like someone does me instead of going to a newspaper or walks up to me and slaps me. That's the end of him (Laughs). I have yet been able to turn the other cheek man (Laughs).Dan: Even years ago you use to say 'pick the time.'Bruce: Pick the time, pick the time. I wouldn't even say anything. I would just show up right in front of his door waiting for him. That's all there is to it. I have yet to refuse a challenge ever since I was in the United States. Wong Jack Man and all these bullshit artist, all of them. I just accept it you knowDan: Yeah.Bruce: First question I ask myself is: Do I have any fear or any doubt about this man? I don't. Do I know what his intention is? Yes, I do so what the hell are you going to do about it. Nothing (Laughs). That's it. It takes a hell of a lot for me not to do anything than to do something.Dan: It's actually a process of maturity.Bruce: Not maturity. There is no such word as maturity. Maturing.Dan: Maturing?Bruce: Damn right man. Because when there is a maturity, there is a conclusion, that's the end, that's when the coffin is closed (Laughs). You might be deteriorating physically in the long process of aging but your discovery daily is still the very same everyday. Where there is a way, there lies the limitation, a circumference, a trap that rots, when it rots it's lifeless.Dan: It has made a great impact though in my training. In my thinking of martial arts as a whole. I mean, once you've talked and worked with you -- you would never go back to Kempo. Do you reach another level of understanding?Bruce: It's like man you know, he's constantly growing. And when he is bound by a set pattern of ideas or way of doing things, that's when he's stopped growing.Dan: That's right.Bruce: Well I'm lucky. That's about it.Dan: Well you have influenced many people in terms of freedom from there original boundaries.Bruce: Well I hope so.Dan: Danny (Inosanto) was all exited all over yesterday.Bruce: Yeah he was at my house the night before.Dan: He was really turned on (Laughs). He don't want us to do anymore heavy bag kicking, he wants us to kick at something light.Bruce: When you use your leg It's much better to kick at the foam pad or something like that.Dan: Yeah.Bruce: Watch out for the side kick on air kicking too much because it's bad for the knee.Dan: It's kind of dangerous yeah?Bruce: Well if you snap it too much without contact at the end you know you can get hurt. Well, just think of economical moves.Dan: Yeah. There's the Kickboxing Association right in Hollywood Boulevard. You have to go and see it?Bruce: They have kickboxing. I saw it in Thailand personally. The bantamweight champion was one of the stuntmen.Dan: Yeah.Bruce: Well the problem with them is that they are the John L. Sullivan with there legs (Laughs). I mean they have no finesse. Nothing.Dan: No. They hurt the thigh and they try and make the other to completely give up.Bruce: Well not all of them do that. You can do that when you are stationary but not when you're constantly moving.Dan: I hear the Japanese have incorporated the sweeping kick on the Thailand high kick. The moment they high kick, the Japanese move in and sweep the foot away. Thai have real trouble with there balance because they kick too high.Bruce: That's right and because they too obvious. That's the whole deal you see. There is no suddenness, no economy.Dan: No broken rhythm either, you can see it coming.Bruce: That's right - John L. Sullivan. That's why 80% of the knockouts is done by hand.Dan : ..............that Chandler? Guy..Bruce: No you put him in the ring, the boxer would just hit on him.Dan: RightBruce: OK Dan I'm packing right now.Dan: Yeah I know that you're busy. I just wanted to get the chance to say Hello to you.Bruce: Thank you -- I'm glad to hear your voice again. I'm selling my house you know?Dan: Yeah Danny (Inosanto) told me. Anything you want me to help with, clean ... let me know?Bruce: Thank you. Well, this time I'm getting in the men. Too much trouble, I'll just let them do it. Right now I'm just sorting out what I need. I'm going to bring some of my books, some of my clothes -- that's about it.Dan: Yeah. Are you going to store things?Bruce: Yeah.Dan: And when are you coming back?Bruce: Well depending on how the film situation is. If it is good, then I'm going to be buying another house.Dan: Actually, I think whatever you do over there will have a tremendous impact on your work over here.Bruce: Well depending on how the quality of it is going to be. I mean, I'm not talking about myself alone, but directing, budget wise, cinema photographer wise, a lot of things, lighting, everything.Dan: Do you think the Hong Kong films are up to standard?Bruce: Not really but they can be. Dan: Considering the man power and the films.Bruce: It's the Hollywood of China you see.Dan: They make more films sometimes in a year than in Hollywood over here.Bruce: That's about it you know.Dan: In the Big Boss you speak Cantonese right?Bruce: Yep.Dan: Then what do they do?Bruce: They just dub it all -- the Mandarin picture. All of them.Dan: Will they be coming over here some time?Bruce: They will be but I don't know when, because like I told you of the tremendous success they are really holding it back. Trying to get the best deal they can and are trying to distribute it. Rank in England are trying to distribute it all over England. I don't know how the deal came about. I opened a film company recently called 'Concord.' My partner (Raymond Chow) is coming over next week so I'll find out more about it then.Dan: I see, good. Well, we're eagerly awaiting for these films to be here.Bruce: I think you will like it. (Some words spoken in Cantonese)........................ I died afterwards.Dan: That's the historical figure?Bruce: No, I'm FOK Kap's student not FOK Kap himself. That is more interesting because FOK Kap is sort of limited because you know we gotta follow how the history goes. So I'm actually portraying his student.Dan: His student?Bruce: Yeah. There are some things -- I fought with the Japanese and the Russian and all that just like FOK Kap. The fight scenes are really tremendous, I mean I like them myself. I enjoyed them so the regular people should really take to them.Dan: Do they all fight in there own style like the Russian Wrestler?Bruce: The Russian fights like Karate and all these things - Boxing, Wrestling, everything all together. I bite him and everything (Laughs). The Chinese are not allowed in the park and all that -- remember?Dan: Yeah I know the history.Bruce: Well exactly. At the end, I died under the gunfire. But it's a very worthwhile death because it's a big moment -- for the Chinese and all that -- I walk out and say fuck you man -- here I come. I leap up into the air and they stop the frame (Bang, Bang) like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.Dan: Yeah.Bruce: Except they stop the frame so I'm in the middle of the air.Dan: Yeah it's a very honorable end.Bruce: Yeah according to the Chinese people (Laughs) and the audience do eat it up. Boy, you should see the film goers in Hong Kong. They are very, very, they're too much (Laughs). When they don't like it, they will say (Bruce talks in Cantonese)........ When they do like it, they clap there hands.Dan: They clap there hands?Bruce: Yeah that's what it is.Dan: Well I think you're going to have more and more films coming up in that theme idea and more higher...?Bruce: In fact the third film I am going to Europe to film it. It's about a Chinese you know who doesn't know how to speak English somewhere in a Western Country. Where he carries ancient weapons and darts and all that. The fourth one is going to be very much like the 'Silent Flute' except it's not you know. Where it shows how a man started off you know. You will see it in the future -- I mean it's very beautiful and entertaining as well.Dan: I heard there's a film being done over here about Chinese Kung Fu and all that?Bruce: Yeah but it's a television deal.Dan: Television deal - Kung Fu?Bruce: Yeah it's called 'Kung Fu' and I was supposed to do it. But the network decided against it and 'Warners' wants me to be in another television series. I'm glad they decided against it (Laughs) because if not, I would have been tied up this year (1972).Dan: They're shooting it?Bruce: Yeah.Dan: Well, when you come back and do another good series.Bruce: Television is really, I mean AhDan: A one shot job.Bruce: Yeah you look at all the television series right. I mean all of them are gimmicks and shallowly treated. You look at 'Ironside.' It's all fast money not like a film where you can put a few months into it and work on it. But not television man, it's gotta finish in one week and how can you keep up the quality every week.Dan: Yeah.Bruce: And people get tired of it. It's not that bad you know what I mean Dan - it's my personality.Dan: You want to actually get deeply into it and the quality -- make it right?Bruce: That's right -- you know money comes second.Dan: That's right.Bruce: That's why I did ban all the schools of JKD because it is very easy for a member to come in and take the agenda as the truth and the? As the way. You know what I mean.Dan: I think you have to pick a few ones that our true diehard followers that don't go out and teaches JKD.Bruce: That's why I tell Dan (Inosanto) to be careful in selecting more students. You should help him in that area.Dan: Yeah you can rest on me. I've been working with Dan a lot.Bruce: Great.Dan: We're really close together.Bruce: Great. Dan (Inosanto) -- I told him last time is that he's becoming very stylized. All the preparation before kicking and it seems like his consciousness is really bothering him. Something is bugging him -- you know what I mean?Dan: Yeah. Well, I think his heavy bag kicking -- too much heavy bag kicking has affected him in got too much body twisting instead of just going right through. Instead of Boom!!Bruce: Yeah and then get the power and momentum and the preparation right out because you can kick a heavy bag that way but you cannot kick an opponent that way.Dan: Yeah. The instep he was checking because his toe was touching first instead of flat. But he's working on it real hard and he sort of had a taste of it. We're trying not too much heavy bag, rather get the suddenness of movement and just feel and work on it.Bruce: Yeah...so..Dan: Well before you leave. Have you got any training session or something?Bruce: Training! (Laughs.) How because I'm so God damn busy (Laughs)......Well anyway..Dan: I wanna see you personally too? (Laughs)Bruce: OK man.....let's see now.Dan: It'll be another year until you come back.Bruce: Yeah anyway I have your phone number. So if anything should happen I'll give you a call.Dan: OK - if you come over for just a few minutes, it'll be satisfying.Bruce: OK Dan great.Dan: Good talking to you Bruce.Bruce: Same to you Dan.Dan: Well take care now.Bruce: Thanks for calling.Dan: You're welcome Bruce.Bruce: Thank you.Dan: Bye Bye.
1. You don't have to be an aspiring martial arts expert to benefit from reading the book "Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body" by John Little. Bruce Lee's fitness beliefs are an inspiration to anyone who wants to be the best that they can be both physically and mentally. Develop a "total" approach to fitness.Bruce Lee's exercise regimen, unlike those of most of his contemporaries, involved all the components of "total" fitness - strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, rhythm, timing, and so on. This is the way it should be for the rest of us also. You cannot consider yourself to be truly fit if your entire exercise program consists of, let's say, running. Your heart will be strong and your legs will not tire easily but your upper body will be flabby. Strength train for a purpose.According to Little, after poring over many scientific books, Lee came away convinced that strength was a prerequisite to all physical activities. Bruce Lee said that "techniques alone are no good if you don't support them with strength and flexibility". Exercise experts now agree that even golfers and bowlers would benefit much from a solid strength-training program. However, Little points out that although Lee was famous for his amazing V-shaped body, he did not lift weights simply to get bigger muscles. Little mentions Dan Inosanto, a close friend and the man chosen by Lee to assist him in teaching martial arts, as saying that Bruce Lee was only interested in strength that could readily be converted into power. Strength that had a purpose besides just looking good and being "macho" enough to bench press a large amount of weight. According to Lee, the strength developed in the gym had to be translated into quick and efficient power in the real world for it to be worth any good. Therefore, he cautioned that "the athlete who is building muscles through weight training should be very sure to work adequately on speed and flexibility at the same time" because "a man can be strong, but if he cannot use that strength quickly, he is not powerful". Cardiovascular endurance is important.Little writes that Bruce Lee believed that "technique is useless if you lack the requisite endurance to carry it out." Many an athlete has discovered this, to his or her dismay, in the last minutes of competition. When you take two athletes or two teams of equivalent skills, it will probably be their physical stamina to last to the bitter end that will make the difference between victory and defeat. Bruce Lee's favorite form of endurance training was running which he tried to do every day, rain or shine, though he also did interval training on a regular basis also.
Crosstrain.Little claims that Bruce Lee was the original cross-trainer. I don't know if he really was the first person to cross train but, judging from the many kinds of exercise that he did, he was definitely a great believer. Little says that "the constant variety Lee infused into his workouts not only staved off the possibility of motivational boredom, but he also kept his muscles adapting to new and constantly changing training stimuli". For example, in his strength training program, Lee used all kinds of strength-building exercises and equipment. He used free weights, cables, compression machines, heavy bags, spring-loaded devices, etc. Little says the "cornerstone of Lee's training belief was experimentation and a refusal to become a slave to any one approach. Lee believed that the moment one locks in one way of doing anything, the potential for true learning, growth, and development is shut down. Therefore, Lee employed and experimented with many different training methods throughout his lifetime." Don't forget the "minor" muscles.Many people work on the "obvious" muscles - the chest, upper back, waist, legs, buttocks, etc. and tend to forget about the "minor" muscles like the shins, forearms, wrists, and rotator cuffs (deep shoulder muscles that cannot be seen). What most people don't realize is that the smaller muscles work as assistants for the larger muscles and are the 'weak' links that can be prone to injury. Lee understood that the whole body has to be strengthened. He said, "If you are talking about sport, that is one thing. But when you are talking about combat - as it is - well then, baby, you'd better train every part of your body." Strengthen your abs.Lee said, "My strength comes from the abdomen. It's the center of gravity and the source of real power. The abdominal and waist region coordinate all parts of the body and act as the center or generator. Therefore, you can promote the ability to control the body's action and master your will more easily." Lee also cautioned his students about the mistaken notion of using abdominal exercises as a means to remove fat. In this, he was ahead of his time. To this day, there are still people who believe that doing one hundred crunches a day will strip off the fat layer around their midsections. Just look at all the abdominal exercise devices that are being sold on TV informercials. Bruce Lee told his students that abdominal exercises would only build muscle and that if one wanted to reduce fat deposits, you had to pay strict attention to your eating habits and the pace of your workouts. So true! Bruce Lee achieved his phenomenal abdominals the old-fashioned way -- through "a lifetime of sacrifice, denial at the dinner table and tremendous dedication at the gym". You are what you eat.Bruce Lee's eating philosophy was quite simple. He believed in 'consuming only the calories your body actually needs, rather than simply indulging in culinary pleasures". Linda Lee states that mealtimes were not the primary focus of their lives. She says that eating was simply considered the "fuel" that kept all the members of the Lee family on the go. Little writes that Lee believed in staying away from foods with empty caloric content and little nutritive value and found it especially helpful to avoid refined sugars, excessive fats, fried food and alcohol.
Always exercise safely.Bruce Lee learned the hard way that if you don't pay attention to safety issues like warming-up, you get into serious trouble. One day in the early 70's, he did the 'good morning' exercise (this requires you to bend from the waist until your upper body is at a ninety-degree angle with your legs) without warming up. To make matters worse, he was also using an excessive amount of weight (135 pounds, his own body weight). He paid the price by damaging a nerve in his lower back. Little writes that, as a result, Lee experienced intense back pain for the rest of his life. Lee called himself "stupid" for executing the exercise in that manner. Don't make the same mistake. You only have one body. It doesn't come with cheap spare parts. Always exercise safely.
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